The Cardinals (3-6, T-4th in NLC) are coming off their third series loss to open up the season, but managed to win a tough one against Max Scherzer in the series finale on Wednesday to avoid the sweep. Those are opposite feelings to those of the Yankees (5-4, T-2nd in ALE) who are coming off a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays after struggling to open up the year.
The title is, of course, a reference to the Washington series preview that asked where Pete Kozma was. Kozma, who provided some postseason heroics against the Nationals, made the Yankees big league roster this year after not playing in the Majors last year.
This will be the Cardinals’ first trip ever to the new Yankee Stadium and the first time they have faced off against the Yankees in the Bronx since 2003. The Yankees swept the Cardinals in that meeting. There are no players who appeared in that series still playing professional baseball in the Majors. Though it’s a fun fact that Mike Matheny and Joe Girardi both caught for the Cardinals in that series.
Game 10: Wacha vs Tanaka
Michael Wacha (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will complete the second trip through the rotation when he takes the mound on Friday night. Wacha allowed 1 run over 8 innings in his debut against the Reds. It was a big start for him as he carried the momentum from a strong spring into the season. Wacha started one game against the Yankees in 2014, allowing 3 runs over 7 innings. Four Yankees have faced Wacha before, led by Starlin Castro who has hit .455 with 2 home runs against Wacha in 22 at bats.
Masahiro Tanaka (0-1, 11.74 ERA) is making his third start of the season as the Yankees brought him back in their fifth game after he failed to make it through three innings in the season opener. He allowed 3 runs over 5 innings against the Orioles in his last start. Tanaka is 20-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 39 starts at Yankee Stadium. No Cardinals batters have faced Tanaka.
Game 11: Martinez vs Sabathia
Carlos Martinez (0-1, 3.65 ERA) has had an up and down start to the season, dominating the Cubs on opening night before getting tagged for five earned runs over five innings by the Reds. Martinez pitched two scoreless innings of relief when they faced the Yankees in 2014. Five Yankees players have faced Martinez before, hitting a collective .227 against him.
CC Sabathia (1-0, 1.64 ERA) has kept his opponents in check so far this season as the Yankees have won both of his games. He allowed two earned runs over six innings of work in his last start against the Orioles. Sabathia is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 3 starts against the Cardinals, the last coming in 2008 where he threw a three-hit complete game shutout while pitching for the Brewers. He is 49-31 with a 3.70 ERA in 108 career starts in Yankee Stadium. Two Cardinals players have faced Sabathia before, led by Dexter Fowler who is 2-for-5 against him.
Game 12: Wainwright vs TBD
Adam Wainwright (0-2, 7.00 ERA) allowed 5 earned runs on 11 hits over four innings in his last start against the Nationals as he was unable to dance his way out of trouble like he did against the Cubs. Wainwright has never faced the Yankees before though six Yankees have faced Wainwright before, hitting a collective .205 against him. Starlin Castro has hit .256 against him. Former teammate Matt Holliday is 0-for-4 against Wainwright.
The Yankees have not yet confirmed who will be starting opposite Wainwright, but it would be Michael Pineda‘s turn in the rotation. Pineda allowed just one run on two hits over 7.2 innings in his last start against the Rays. Pineda has never faced the Cardinals and is 13-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 38 starts in Yankee Stadium. Dexter Fowler and Jhonny Peralta have both faced Pineda before, both are 1-for-3 against him. Fowler hit a double while Peralta hit a home run.
Who’s hot, who’s not
For the Cardinals it is definitely Aledmys Diaz who is hot. He played two of the games over the weekend against the Nationals and hit three home runs. He has hit .273/.273/.682 with 3 home runs and 5 RBI over the last week. Stephen Piscotty gets an honorable mention, mainly on the strength of his 5 RBI game on Wednesday afternoon. For the Yankees, it’s Aaron Judge. In the last week, Judge is batting .429/.529/1.071 (not a typo, a slugging percentage over 1.000) with 3 home runs and 6 RBI.
The Cardinals’ bullpen gets the cold nod. If it wasn’t for Matthew Bowman, the stats on the bullpen would be awful. It’s just ugly. Bowman has a 0.50 WHIP in a team high 5 appearances. The second lowest WHIP in the bullpen is Miguel Socolovich‘s 1.60, which is not very good. Brett Cecil, Kevin Siegrist, and Jonathan Broxton all have allowed greater than two and a half baserunners per inning on average.
For the Yankees its hard to find a clear cut cold option. I’d have to go with Austin Romine who is 1-for-9 since being called up to take over when regular catcher Gary Sanchez hit the disabled list this week.
On the shelf
Tyler Lyons threw six innings of two-hit shutout baseball in a rehab start against the Colorado Sky Sox on Wednesday. The club may begin to look at calling him up in the coming days as their bullpen has had some struggles.
The Yankees are without two starting position players as Didi Gregorius (right shoulder strain) and Gary Sanchez (right biceps strain) are on the DL and not expected to return until May.
With the Yankees are former Cardinals players Matt Holliday and Pete Kozma. Holliday is currently hitting .276/.462/.448 with a home run and leads all of baseball with 10 walks. Kozma is 0-for-2 with a walk.