After taking two games from the Cleveland Indians this week, the Yankees are in Baltimore for a three-game series with the Orioles that will take them into the All-Star break for a much needed four-day break as they get ready to run through most, or all of, the the second half of the season without their ace Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees will enter this series tonight just four games back of the AL East leading Orioles, so they have a good chance to make up ground this weekend.
As you should have heard by now, Tanaka was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, effectively putting him on the shelve for at least six weeks, with Tommy John surgery still very much possible.
The challenge for the Yankees moving forward will be still trying to compete for a playoff spot in the American League East with now four-fifths of their Opening Day rotation now on the DL. The last standing member of that five is the 39-year-old Hiroki Kuroda, who will now have to be the guy that carries the rotation -- realistically, that probably won't happen.
Brandon McCarthy will have to be a valuable starter along side David Phelps, Chase Whitley and Shane Greene....never mind, we're screwed.
Tonight's lineup against Baltimore:
LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
2B Brian Roberts
RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Yangervis Solarte
DH Kelly Johnson
Pitching matchup preview:
Getting over Tanaka began last night with Phelps tossing six+ quality innings, but it'll start tonight for Kuroda, how will be on the mound for the Yankees during this series opener at Camden Yards, as he faces the O's for the third time this season.
His first meeting against them was on April 7 at Yankee Stadium, getting the win in that one, then he took home a no-decision in a June 20 start, giving up two runs in six innings.
In his last trip to the mound, Kuroda gave up four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings, beating the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will be on the mound for the Orioles tonight, looking to improve on his 4.22 ERA this season.
Gonzalez is coming off of a pretty good start in which he allowed just two runs -- one earned -- and in a season-high eight innings.