Happy Jackie Robinson Day, folks. Today marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie breaking the color barrier and beginning the slow process of desegregating Major League Baseball.
After wrapping up a seven-game homestand last night with a dramatic victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, leaving New York with a 4-3 record, the Bronx Bombers begin their first road trip of the young season tonight in Baltimore. Even though it is ridiculously early in the season, it is important that the Yankees play well this weekend and stock up on wins against the lowly Orioles, something they failed to do last season to the extent we might have expected.
Kicking off the series on the mound for the Yankees is southpaw Jordan Montgomery. Monty makes his second start of the season after going 3.1 innings versus Boston and leaving with a swollen knee and a no-decision. Montgomery is coming off a strong 2021 season that saw him pitch 157.1 IP to the tune of a 3.83 ERA and 3.3 fWAR.
Montgomery’s next step? Eating some innings. Despite his impressive performance in 2021, he still only managed to average just under 5.1 IP/start. It is imperative that someone behind Gerrit Cole steps up in 2022 and takes some pressure off the Yankees’ bullpen. It might not happen tonight with starters still building up to normal workloads, but it has to happen eventually.
Thirty-one-year-old righthander Jordan Lyles takes the ball for the Orioles. He too is making his second start of the season, after allowing five earned runs in five innings against Tampa Bay. Last season, he threw 180 innings for the Texas Rangers, pitching to a 5.15 ERA and 5.34 FIP. Lyles showed a propensity for surrendering the dinger last season, allowing 1.9 HR/9. If that glitch is not fixed, perhaps he could be in trouble against a Yankees lineup that features some big sticks.
As always, the 2022 Yankees lineup features a big name who is starting the game on the bench. Tonight, Aaron Judge gets the short straw for his first off-day of the season. With him out, the outfield is Joey Gallo/Aaron Hicks/Giancarlo Stanton from left to right. Another item of note for the Yankees, first baseman Anthony Rizzo holds down the leadoff spot tonight, with Josh Donaldson sliding down to third in the order. It’s unlikely that the Nos. 8 & 9 spots in the order will provide the heroics nightly, so it would be nice to see some mashing from the heart of the order.
This will mark the first time the Yankees have visited Camden Yards since the Orioles made the decision to move the left field fence back. We’ll see if and how that impacts the Yankees, but for righty sluggers like Judge and Stanton, they have the power to reach the stands regardless. As for 2019 Oriole killer Gleyber Torres? We’ll see.
The opening homestand went reasonably well for the Yankees. Wins this weekend in Baltimore, starting tonight, could add to some early-season momentum and set a tone for how the Yankees might play against the Orioles this season. Play tonight. Win tonight.
How to watch
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards — Baltimore, MD
First pitch: 7:05 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES – NYY / MASN - BAL
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 / SN590, 98 Rock FM / WBAL NewsRadio AM/FM
Online stream: MLB.tv