As the Yankees prepare to open their homestand, the story that has dominated headlines around the league involves the team they are set to face first. When Tony La Russa was inexplicably hired to man the helm of a young, fun-loving, talented White Sox squad, everyone and their mom could have predicted a falling out in the clubhouse due to clashing personalities. It took six weeks, but boy did that wave of unrest come crashing down on the South Siders.
It started when breakout phenom Yermín Mercedes crushed a home run on a 3-0 pitch from a Twins position player during a blowout. La Russa angrily threw his star slugger under the bus, and went so far as to defend the Twins when they threw behind Mercedes the next game. (White Sox team leaders like Tim Anderson and Lance Lynn have voiced their support of Mercedes.) Suffice to say, I would be happy to see New York pimp every home run, K-strut every strikeout, and swing at every 3-0 strike in the upcoming series.
The Yankees return home triumphant after winning every series of their road trip. Jordan Montgomery will have to lean on that positive to erase the stink of his previous start. Monty spoiled a 4-0 first inning lead against the Orioles last time out, ultimately surrendering five runs in three innings in what was arguably the Yankees’ most disappointing loss of the season. The tall lefty is 2-1 in eight starts, with a 4.75 ERA, 3.97 FIP, and 41 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.
On the offensive side, the Bombers roll out the strongest nine of their available players. Bryan Hoch reported today that Aaron Hicks will undergo wrist surgery for a torn tendon sheath, so Brett Gardner will likely see an extended runout of games in center. Miguel Andújar gets another start in left as Clint Frazier has been dealing with some minor neck issues, although Pete Caldera reports that he will be available off the bench, alleviating some fears of a potentially more serious injury.
I’m also happy to relay that the Yankees received some welcome news. A handful of coaches and support staff who tested positive for COVID-19 have been approved to return to the team, all having cleared COVID protocols.
Matt Blake, Reggie Willits, and some support staff members have been able to return to the Yankees having cleared covid protocols, Aaron Boone said.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) May 21, 2021
It’s a battle of the southpaws tonight as Carlos Rodón toes the rubber for the Sox. He tossed the second of six no-hitters in the league so far. Rodón has been one of THE signings of the offseason. After being non-tendered by the Sox over the winter, he was eventually brought back on one-year, $1.5 million deal. He is also one of the great comeback stories in the league, having come back from shoulder injuries and Tommy John surgery in 2018 and 2019 respectively all the way to throwing the no-no. On the season, the hard-throwing lefty is 5-1 in six starts with a 1.47 ERA, 2.40 FIP, and 49 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.
Montgomery will have his hands full with a potent White Sox offense. They are by far the strongest team in the league against left-handed pitching, so he will need to be near-perfect to have any chance of containing them. Even with lengthy injury layoffs for star outfielders Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert, there is plenty of pop in the lineup including the aforementioned Mercedes, reigning AL MVP José Abreu, and the red-hot Yoan Moncada.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, New York, NY
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
TV broadcast: WPIX, NBC Sports Chicago
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.tv