Although they’ve gone on an early run behind some solid pitching, the New York Yankees will have to adjust with closer David Robertson headed to the disabled list.
The Baltimore Orioles aren’t getting much out of their pitching staff – particularly the rotation – during their early slide.
Ivan Nova will try to pitch the Yankees to their fifth win in six games as Wei-Yin Chen looks to keep the Orioles from dropping their sixth in seven games Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Since allowing nine runs and four homers in a pair of season-opening losses at Houston, New York (4-3) has recorded a 2.86 ERA while giving up a total of four homers during a 4-1 stretch.
Hiroki Kuroda became the latest Yankee hurler to shine, surrendering two runs over 6 1-3 innings before the bullpen stepped up with 2 2-3 hitless frames in a 4-2 victory over Baltimore (2-5) in Monday’s home opener.
New York, however, took a big hit when Robertson suffered a strained groin just three appearances into his role as Mariano Rivera’s replacement. He felt discomfort Sunday in the ninth inning of a 6-4 win at Toronto, his second save in three outings.
”It’s really disappointing,” Robertson said after Shawn Kelley earned his first career save Monday. ”I would’ve loved to have been out there pitching the ninth today, especially on opening day here.”
Nova (1-0, 3.18 ERA) will try to make things easier on the depleted bullpen after he allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 4-2 victory at Houston on Thursday. The right-hander overcame five walks by inducing four double plays.
”This could have been a game where he gave up a lot of runs without those double play balls,” manager Joe Girardi said. ”He made big pitches when he had to.”
Now Nova will go after his third consecutive complete game at home against Baltimore after striking out 16 and limiting the Orioles to two runs and six hits to win both meetings at Yankee Stadium in 2013.
Those kinds of pitching performances have been sparse for the Orioles, whose starters have posted a 6.82 ERA and coughed up six home runs while losing five of six and lasting past six innings just once in that span.
Chen (0-1, 6.35) hopes to regroup after allowing four runs and 12 hits over 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 home loss to Boston on Thursday. However, he’s gone 0-3 with a 6.83 ERA while allowing seven homers in his last five starts against the Yankees.
Alfonso Soriano (3 for 4) and Brett Gardner (5 for 9) have fared well against the left-hander, though Derek Jeter is just 3 for 14 with a home run in the matchup. Jeter went 1 for 4 with a double in his final home opener Monday.
Yangervis Solarte has been the team’s biggest surprise, going 9 for 20 with four doubles and six RBIs. Jacoby Ellsbury also has found a groove, going 9 for 18 in his last four games.
Baltimore’s Matt Wieters has hit .379 with four homers in 29 career at-bats against Nova, while slugger Chris Davis has batted .348 with three home runs in 23 at-bats.
The Orioles, though, could be without J.J. Hardy for a third straight game because of back spasms.
”He’s better than he was yesterday,” manager Buck Showalter said Monday.
Baltimore is hitting .231 with three homers while averaging just 3.1 runs.