Needless to say, not an ideal way for the Yankees to enter a four-game series against the Red Sox.
Rain washed away Tuesday night’s game against the Indians, necessitating a straight doubleheader Wednesday at the Stadium.
And it’s not a double-dip against any team — it’s against a streaking Cleveland team that has won five straight, including a 6-2 victory over the Yankees Monday night, and is 75-56 and running away with the AL Central.
Then the Red Sox, who were 75-57 after Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory in Toronto, and leading the Yankees by four games in the AL East, come to town Thursday night.
An already brutal week became even tougher.
“No, but it is what it is and you have to handle it,” Joe Girardi said of playing the Red Sox after a doubleheader. “We’ll be prepared for it. The day off will help the guys today, but they’ll be tired tomorrow, but we’ll figure it out.”
If there is one benefit, it’s that Girardi’s top four pitchers will be facing the Red Sox.
With Tuesday’s rainout, lefthander Jaime Garcia, the Tuesday starter, will start Game 1 of the doubleheader and rookie lefty Jordan Montgomery will come up from the minors as the 26th man and start Game 2. Girardi said “absolutely” slumping Aaron Judge, given a couple of days off to clear his head, will play in at least one of the games.
CC Sabathia, originally slotted to pitch Wednesday afternoon, will now start the Boston series Thursday night.
That means the Red Sox will see Sabathia and then, in some order, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino. The Yankees have not announced the rotation beyond Sabathia on Thursday.
“Whenever they tell me to pitch, that’s the day I’m going to go,” Sabathia said. “It is what it is. I’ll be ready to go on Thursday.
Sabathia is 10-5 with a 3.82 ERA this season and has allowed a combined three earned runs over his last two starts. That includes his Aug. 19 outing at Fenway Park when he allowed two runs over six innings of a 4-3 Yankees victory.
Oddly, when the Red Sox leave town after Sunday night’s game, the season-series between the blood rivals will be complete.
“It does seem weird that we’re not going to play them all of September, I’ve never been a part of that,” said Sabathia, a Yankee since 2009. “That will be a little weird but we’ll just have to go out, try and win the series . . . But we just have to go out and try to play well from here on out against whomever we play.”
Meaning, first there’s work to be done Wednesday. Trevor Bauer, 13-8 with a 4.59 ERA but 6-1, 3.28 in the season’s second half, starts Game 1 for Cleveland. Soft-tossing lefthander Ryan Merritt, 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA in four outings (three starts) this season, starts Game 2.
But Girardi’s primary concern for the day is his club and the impact doubleheaders can have, the reason most managers hope to avoid them, especially late in the season.
“What it does to the players from a physical standpoint, the way you’re able to use a bullpen in a game and how it affects it the next day,” Girardi said of the primary concerns. “Because, realistically, you could use six or seven relievers in a doubleheader. Some guys are probably going to have to play 18 innings. The off day is nice, but from a physical standpoint that [the doubleheader] takes its toll.”