I’m heading to Yankee Stadium for a long day of baseball. A few things to know about today.
Game 1 begins at 1:05 p.m., broadcast on YES Network, with Andy Pettitte facing Henderson Alvarez.
Game 2 starts at 7:05 p.m., broadcast on MY9, with David Phelps (4-4, 3.39) facing Ricky Romero
Before the first game, the Yankees have to activate Andy Pettitte from the 60-day disabled list. There’s also a solid chance they’ll activate Brett Gardner from the 60-day. That means opening at least roster one spot — maybe two — and that means making some tough choices.
Excluding other players on the 60-day, the only 40-man pitcher not currently in New York is Dellin Betances, and even after a bad year, it’s hard to believe the Yankees would cut him loose. The only 40-man position players not currently in New York are Austin Romine, Corban Joseph, David Adams and Zoilo Almonte, all of whom have done enough to stick.
Casey McGehee’s not really playing anymore. Justin Thomas has pitched well but gotten into only two games. David Phelps and Freddy Garcia being in the bullpen might make Derek Lowe expendable as a long man. This is exactly the sort of situation people refer to when they say it’s a numbers game.
Goes without saying that Pettitte’s return and Gardner’s potential return are worth monitoring on the injury front, but it’s also worth considering that the extra day off might have done some good by giving Derek Jeter an extra day to rest his bruised ankle. It’s hard to believe Joe Girardi would go from resting Jeter in four straight games to playing him in the field for both games of a doubleheader, so it will be interesting to see how Jeter is used. It might be worth noting that Jayson Nix has good career numbers against Game 2 starter Ricky Romero.
Two games, one of which is started by a guy on a limited pitch count. That means we could see a lot of that expanded bullpen today. And with a righty and a lefty starting for the Blue Jays, Girardi is going to have quite a bit of turnover with the lineup. With all of those guys coming and going, and the Yankees could really use a sweep given this tight division race.
“You don’t think about it so much as (the difficulty of sweeping),” Girardi said. “But how you have to adjust your rotation, (and) having a split doubleheader, it’s a long day for the guys and you’re not going to play some of the guys two games. You probably physically can’t do that. We’re in a stretch where they’re going to go 15 days in a row, so you have to be smart about that. A lot of guys are going to play tomorrow.”
Associated Press photos