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New York Yankees vs. San Francisco Giants: Series Preview

We’re only a couple hours away from real live regular season baseball!

Boston Red Sox v. New York Yankees Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

In an alternative universe, the mood surrounding the Yankees’ season-opening series against the Giants would be way worse. Sure, the run of injuries the Yankees have dealt with of late isn’t great, and you could certainly wish that the team had done more this offseason, but there’s still a lot to be excited about. Aaron Judge is back and the Yankees’ captain. Top prospect Anthony Volpe impressed in spring training and will get the nod at shortstop to open the year. There’s a bunch of stuff to be excited about!

In that alternate universe, Judge would be playing in this series, but in the opposite dugout. During his free agency, it seemed like he was close to signing with the Giants, and there were (quickly retracted) reports that a deal was done. Were Judge running out of the dugout in a black “SF” hat, it’s not hard to imagine a particularly frustrated crowd in the Bronx this afternoon.

Thankfully, that didn’t come to pass, the new captain will be wearing pinstripes, and we can fully appreciate the start of this season as the Yankees face off against the Giants.

Thursday: Gerrit Cole vs. Logan Webb (1:05 pm ET)

For the fourth consecutive season, Cole will get the nod for the Yankees on Opening Day. The best of those starts came back in 2020 when he allowed one run in five innings against the Nationals to kick off the COVID-shortened season. He comes into this year of a fairly good spring season, putting up a 3.32 ERA in 21.2 innings, striking out an impressive 27 batters.

The Giants will be countering with their ace in Webb. The Yankees have never faced Webb before, as he’s really only broken through over the last two years. Last year, Webb finished 11th in NL Cy Young Award voting after a season where he put up a 2.90 ERA and a 3.03 FIP in 192.1 innings.

Saturday: Clarke Schmidt vs. Alex Cobb (4:05 pm ET)

After the annoying day off immediately after Opening Day that MLB continues to insist on, the Yankees will give the ball to Schmidt on Saturday. At the beginning of the year, it wasn’t expected that Schimdt would be anywhere near the rotation to start the season. Then Frankie Montas needed surgery, and Schmidt was among those battling for a spot to start the season. Then the injuries kept on coming, and now he’s going to be starting the second game of the season. Schmidt’s numbers as a starter at the major league level — albeit it’s only a five game sample — aren’t especially impressive, but there are reasons to think that this could be a breakout season for him.

There were some questions about whether or not Cobb would be ready to start the season after suffering an injury during spring training, but the Giants will have him start game number two. The Yankees faced off against Cobb from 2011 to 2020 when he was a member of the Rays and Orioles, during which he had a 3.21 ERA in 112 innings against the Bombers. Those numbers are a little worse at Yankee Stadium in particular, but he’s generally been solid against the Yankees. He has been a better pitcher in recent years too, which got him a two-year/$20 million deal with San Francisco ahead of 2022.

Sunday: Domingo Germán Jhony Brito vs. Ross Stripling (1:35 pm ET)

Originally, the Yankees listed Germán as the probable starter for this matinee, but just a couple hours before the first pitch of the season, manager Aaron Boone revealed that the rookie Brito would make his MLB debut on Sunday instead. Injuries to the rotation bumped him into the MLB mix, but as both Marcus and Alex have covered, Brito is no pushover. The right-hander won the spot with a solid spring and pitched to a 3.31 ERA and 1.175 WHIP in 70.2 innings with Triple-A Scranton last year, generating a ton of groundballs in the process.

Stripling is another pitcher that the Yankees have some experience against in recent years, as spent 2020-22 with the Blue Jays. Last year, they had his number a bit, as Stripling didn’t last past the fourth inning in either start, allowing a 4.70 ERA.