Mariners-Yankees Preview

BY foxsports • April 16, 2016

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi opted to give the woeful Alex Rodriguez a day off.

Rodriguez's expected return to the lineup will be against one of baseball's best pitchers.

The slugger has not fared too poorly in the past against Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who starts Saturday at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of this series.

Girardi opted to rest Rodriguez for Friday's 7-1 defeat, citing the fact that the Yankees (4-5) arrived home late from Toronto. Since his homer in Detroit on April 9, Rodriguez is hitless with five strikeouts in 14 at-bats and batting .120 for the year.

"I just think it's what hitters go through," Girardi said. "You go through ups and downs. I've said, when you're 40, people are going to always question, is it his age? When it's early in the season, it's usually a lot more glaring.

"You go 0-for-14, you got 400 at-bats under your belt, you're hitting .275, .280, people don't say a whole lot. But when it's early in the season and you're 40 and you're Alex, you're going to be asked about it every day. So let's hope he comes out with three hits soon so I stop getting asked."

Facing Hernandez (0-1, 0.69 ERA) isn't an easy assignment. Rodriguez, however, is 8 for 28 with no extra-base hits and six walks off the Seattle ace.

Hernandez is seeking to avoid going three straight starts without a victory to begin a season for the first time since going 0-3 with a 4.57 ERA in his first four in 2006. The Mariners (4-6) have given him three runs of total support after he struck out 10 in seven innings of three-hit ball in Sunday's 2-1, 10-inning defeat to Oakland.

The right-hander is 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA in eight career outings at the current Yankee Stadium.

New York 's Mark Teixeira is a .319 hitter versus Hernandez with six homers in 69 at-bats and Brett Gardner is 10 for 30. Teixeira's six homers are the most off King Felix.

A pitching matchup between Hernandez and CC Sabathia (1-0, 4.50) would once be considered a marquee one. That's no longer the case after Sabathia had baseball's sixth-worst ERA in 2015 at 4.73 and was third-worst in opposition batting average at .285.

In his season debut, he gave up three runs in six-plus innings of the 8-4 victory over the Tigers in which Rodriguez last had a hit.

Sabathia is 8-1 with a 1.84 ERA in his last 12 starts against the Mariners. Kyle Seager is 2 for 16 against the left-hander and Robinson Cano 2 for 12.

The lefty-swinging Adam Lind is 7 for 15 versus Sabathia, although manager Scott Servais tends to start Dae-Ho Lee against southpaws.

Seattle has more at-bats against left-handers than any team in the majors, but it's hitting .184 in 158 at-bats.

Chris Iannetta went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer and an RBI single Friday as the Mariners opened a nine-game trip with a second straight victory. Cano, who homered four times in his first three road games, was 2 for 5 against his former team.

Gardner homered for New York, which figures to rest top hitter Brian McCann in favor of backup catcher Austin Romine for this day game.



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