New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi knows that his team hasn’t played well at home.
That hasn’t been a problem against the Cleveland Indians.
The Yankees will use former Indians pitcher Esmil Rogers as a fill-in starter Friday night when they look to hand Cleveland a seventh straight defeat in the Bronx.
New York (60-54) had baseball’s fifth-worst home record at the All-Star break at 18-23. The Yankees have gone 10-4 since, winning three of four over AL Central-leading Detroit this week following a 1-0 victory Thursday.
"We talked all about we need to play better at home," Girardi said. "And we’re winning the close games at home and we need to do that if we want to play in October."
Girardi has never lost a series at the current Yankee Stadium against Cleveland, splitting his first one and capturing the next four for a 14-4 mark. That’s his best record against any AL opponent in that span, barring a 5-1 mark against Houston that includes three wins when the Astros were an NL club.
The Yankees’ three wins over the Tigers were in games started by pitchers who didn’t begin the season with them in Brandon McCarthy, Chris Capuano and rookie Shane Greene.
Now New York will turn to Rogers (1-0, 5.84 ERA), who has made two appearances with the Yankees since they acquired him off waivers July 31 after he began the year with Toronto. Rogers, who spent part of 2012 with Cleveland, hasn’t started this season and went 4-7 with a 4.89 ERA in 20 starts last year for the Blue Jays.
It’s not known how much length Girardi expects out of the right-hander, who gave up one run over six innings in his lone start against the Indians last season. Girardi said Thursday that Greene’s eight-inning effort gave him plenty of options with a rested bullpen, noting in particular he was happy that right-hander Shawn Kelley got a second straight day off.
First baseman Mark Teixeira didn’t play after getting stitches in his left pinkie after he was spiked while sliding home Wednesday night. Teixeira is day to day.
Derek Jeter and Brian McCann will likely return after they got Thursday off.
The Yankees will get another look at right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-6, 4.20), who beat them July 8 by allowing three runs in seven innings in a 5-3 home win. Brett Gardner is hitless in six at-bats against him.
Bauer is 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA in seven road starts entering his first at Yankee Stadium.
The Indians (57-58) totaled five runs and batted .179 in dropping three straight to Cincinnati prior to this series. They lost for the sixth time in seven road games with Thursday’s 4-0 defeat.
”Whenever you’re at .500, just hanging around and waiting to see what’s going to happen, that’s tough,” left-hander T.J. House said.
All-Star Michael Brantley is 2 for 11 in the slide. Brantley went 8 for 18 and made several spectacular plays in the outfield when Cleveland split four games at home with New York last month.