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New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Deivi García vs. Kyle Bradish

Can the Yankees get back on track with their once-promising rookie on the mound?

New York Yankees v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Yankees play their first game under the lights at GMS tonight in what looks to be an intriguing matchup against the Orioles. As we know, results during spring training are hardly the focal point. For major leaguers, it’s all about building back up to game speed, while for the minor league invitees, these games represent an opportunity to showcase their growth to the major league coaches who might not have ever seen them play in person. For both sets of players, spring training, like the season it ushers in, is a chance to start afresh.

One player who certainly falls under that category is Deivi García, tonight’s starter, as he tries to turn over a new leaf after a disastrous campaign last year. For as exciting his first season was in 2020 — including a dazzling six shutout innings in his MLB debut against the Mets — 2021 represented the polar opposite. He scuffled to the tune of 6.85 ERA in 90.2 innings with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, walking over 15 percent of the batters he faced. More troubling was the loss of effectiveness of his fastball and curveball after lowering his arm slot, a problem he will have to fix if he wants any shot of a major league career.

García matches up against righty Kyle Bradish. Drafted by the Angels out of New Mexico State in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Bradish was part of the four-player package that sent Dylan Bundy out west in 2019. FanGraphs ranks Bradish as the Orioles’ seventh-best prospect while MLB Pipeline and Keith Law place him tenth. He throws a four-seamer in the mid-90s, a curve in the mid-80s, a cutter, and a changeup, and pitched to a 3.68 ERA with 131 strikeouts and 44 walks across 100.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

For the first time this spring, we get a glimpse of what could be the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup. DJ LeMahieu starts at first over Anthony Rizzo, allowing Gleyber Torres to start at second. They continue the trend from last season of having a lefty bat — in this case Joey Gallo — hit third to break up the righty bats of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, despite Gallo’s preference to bat fourth or fifth.

We spot a few old friends in the Orioles lineup tonight. Rougned Odor, Jorge Mateo, and Robinson Chirinos all get the nod against their former employer. Cedric Mullins is far and away the best player on this Orioles squad, finishing with the 14th-highest fWAR (5.3) in the majors last season en route to a ninth-place MVP finish. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see consensus top-two overall prospect Adley Rutschman start behind the plate, as he is out with a triceps strain.

How to watch

Location: George M. Steinbrenner Field — Tampa, FL

First pitch: 6:35 p.m. ET

TV broadcast: Yankees YES App (the Nets get top billing on YES tonight)

Radio broadcast: N/A

Online stream: MLB.tv

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