On paper, the Yankees are scheduled to face a winless pitcher tonight with four starts (with a 0-1 record) and an ERA of 6.26. The game is scheduled to take place within his ball park – the home of his worst start of the season: five innings, ten hits, eight runs, three walks and only three strikeouts against Cleveland.
Unfortunately, if you crumpled up that paper and threw it aside, you’d be stuck staring back at David Price, with just a 0-2, 6.43 ERA’, Phil Hughes at your defense.
This will be the second meeting of the season between the Rays and the Yankees, with last night’s 5-1 loss (three homers off of Sabathia, two of which came in the first inning) kicking off the season series.
Phil Hughes will be making his fourth start of the season, with his best start of 2013 preceding tonight (seven innings, six hits, two runs, zero walks, six strikeouts against Arizona).
Hughes’ prior two starts only resulted in a combined seven innings of work.
In order to keep Hughes on the mound for more than half of the game tonight, the Yanks must get to Price early. This translates to getting Gardner on early and (finally) letting him run.
A confident Price, with maybe even a lead of his own, early in the game would only lead the former Cy Young award winner in the direction of his first win this season.
Tonight marks a very important early season game, as a win would keep the Yanks ascending over .500 (very clutch with the current state of the DL) and victories over David Price will be hard to come by as the season develops.