Monday was the last first home game of the year for Derek Jeter, meaning that today is the last second home game of the year for Derek Jeter. There will be a lot of last this season as Jeter rolls closer to retirement with each passing day.
His last game here, and his last game there. Maybe his last All-Star Game this summer in Minnesota. But, of course, nothing is going to top the final home game he'll play, also against the Baltimore Orioles last this season on September 25th.
Back to the game action, Jeter played a helpful part in the Yankees' 4-2 win over the O's on Monday at Yankee Stadium. His missed a homerun in the 4th inning by about a foot, hitting it off the top of the wall in left field, having to settle for a double. A batter later, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a soft single into right field to bring Jeter home to score.
The win brought the Yankees above .500 for the first time this season, and even though this might not matter seven games into the season, at 4-3, the Yankees currently hold a 1/2 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
On the down side of things, the Yankees had to place closer David Robertson in the 15-day DL with a Grade 1 groin strain. He hopes to be back in the minimum 15 days. Until then, Shawn Kelley will take over as the closer, and to replace Robertson's roster spot, the Yanks announced this morning that they're calling up lefty Cesar Cabral from Triple-A Scranton, giving the team three lefties in their bullpen.
Today's lineup against Baltimore:
- Brett Gardner LF
- Derek Jeter SS
- Jacoby Ellsbury CF
- Carlos Beltran RF
- Alfonso Soriano DH
- Brian McCann C
- Francisco Cervelli 1B
- Brian Roberts 2B
- Yangervis Solarte 3B
And, no, I didn't make any mistakes. Cervelli is playing first base this afternoon.
Pitching matchup preview: Ivan Nova vs Wei-Yin Chen
Ivan Nova is no stranger to pitching against the Orioles. The young Yankees right-hander has faced the O's 12 times in his career (11 starts), going 5-2 with a 4.46 ERA.
Nova faced Baltimore three times last season, including two starts, and his first two outings against the club were over impressive. The first was a relief appearance on June 29th, in which he gave up just two runs over 5.2 innings.
The second was a start he made about a week later, and he flat out dominated, striking out 11 O's while giving up two runs in a complete-game victory. The Yankees ended up winning that game on a walk-off single by Vernon Wells. Personally, this was one of my favorites games of the 2013 season.
Nova showed a lot of potential on the mound last season, and the Yankees know he has a lot of talent in him. Manager Joe Girardi is excited to watch him put that talent to use this season.
"Well, obviously, we think he's got the talent and the stuff to have a big year, and that's important if we want to get to where we want to get to," Girardi told MLB.com. "But that's important for all of our starters to have good year, because you're going to need to win a lot of games in our division to win our division and to move on.
"We believe he has the stuff to have a big year."
Nova won his first start of the last season last week in Houston, tossing six-innings of two run ball against the Astros.
Nova will be matched up today with Orioles right-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who in his first start of the year took the loss against the Red Sox on Thursday, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing four runs on 12 hits. In his career, Chen is 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA in three career starts at Yankee Stadium.
Twitter for game coverage: @GavinEwbank