Vidal Nuno answered the call last night, with media and fans pressuring Joe Girardi to removed him from the rotation after a few lackluster starters recently. Nuno tossed 5 2/3 inning of shutout ball against a pretty weak Boston Red Sox lineup, as the Yankees pounded a trio of homerun to take the opener of this three-game set, 6-0.
Kelly Johnson hit his 5th homerun of the season last night, and now has more than Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, who only has four since moving out west. The homerun was Johnson's first homer since May 3, a span of 84 at-bats.
He hasn't seen a ton of playing time this season due to the fact that Yangervis Solarte got off to such a hot start with at the plate, eating up most of the playing time at third base. But with Solarte struggling badly right now, Johnson has been seeing more time in the lineup, and has collected eight hits in his last 11 games. I'm not saying the Yankees still don't need to find a new third baseman before the deadline, but, you know, at least he's been playing better lately.
Tonight's lineup against Boston:
LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Carlos Beltran
RF Alfonso Soriano
C Brian McCann
2B Brian Roberts
3B Yangervis Solarte
*No Johnson in the lineup a night after going deep. With the Yankees facing a left-hander tonight, Solarte with get the start at third base with his switch-hitting bat.
Pitching matchup preview:
While Girardi has been answering a lot of questions lately about Nuno's struggles, nobody has needed to ask a negative question about tonight's starter, Masahiro Tanaka, who has been nothing short of the Yankees' ace this season, entering tonight's start against Boston with a league-leading 11 wins and 2.11 ERA.
For the second time this season, Tanaka will be matching up against Jon Lester and the Red Sox, who he beat for his third Major League win back in April, when he tossed 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
Tanaka will try to extend the Yankees' winning streak to three games tonight. He's coming off of just his second loss of the season, firing seven innings of three-run ball on six hits, one walk and six strikeouts in a game that the Yankees would lose, 8-0.
Opposing him with be Boston's ace, the left-hander Jon Lester, who earned a no-decision in his last start after throwing 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball in Oakland on Sunday. Lester has only given up four earned runs in his last three starts.