The Chicago Cubs become the first team to get a second crack at Masahiro Tanaka tonight. The Yankees' real ace mowed down the Cubs when he faced them at Yankee Stadium earlier this season, holding them to only two hits over eight innings while striking out out ten. This time Tanaka will be able to help his own cause on the offensive side as the Yankees visit Wrigley Field for the first of a two-game set.
Yankees lineup: Gardner 7 Jeter 6 Ellsbury 8 Teixeira 3 McCann 2 Soriano 9 Solarte 5 Roberts 4 Tanaka 1— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) May 20, 2014
Yankee batters have some familiarity with Cubs starter Jason Hammel, who spent some time prior to this season with the Baltimore Orioles. Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano are the only batters in the lineup who have gone deep against Hammel in their careers, but several others have found quite a bit of success off the right-hander. Brian Roberts has a 1.003 OPS against Hammel in 19 plate appearances. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira have reached base at a .455 and .545 clip, respectively, over the course of their careers at the plate against Hammel. Teixeira has been incredibly hot as of late, which could continue against a pitcher he's had success against. Ellsbury has been slumping, so perhaps he can get back on track against a pitcher he has a .400/.455/.500 career batting line against.
It was announced today that Carlos Beltran will try to play through the bone spur in his elbow instead of opting for mid-season surgery. Cortisone shots have been used to mitigate the amount of pain that the slugging outfielder experiences, but there is a chance that once Beltran returns he simply finds it too much to stand. At that point, he would need to have the surgery and miss the roughly six weeks or more it takes to recover. As it stands now, Beltran hopes he can make it through the rest of the season and likely undergo surgery sometime during the offseason. It's only May and there are a lot of games still to be played. It seems like the wiser decision would be to have the surgery and not try to play in a limited capacity that would decrease the amount of production possible, but no one wants to miss large chunks of playing time during the season. Beltran's body may force the issue if cortisone can't keep the pain away.
Tonight's game will be on My9 starting at 8:05 pm.