April 9, 2010

Yankees-Rays series preview:

Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez were the three top players acquired by the Yankees this offseason. Granderson and Johnson already have game-winning RBIs registered, and Vazquez will make his debut (again) tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The last time Vazquez pitched for the Yankees, he allowed a grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. His career in pinstripes ended after he walked David Ortiz in the fourth inning.

“That’s in the past,” Vazquez said. “I talked about it a lot when I got traded and during spring training, and it’s just a new year for me and a new year for the team. I just want to concentrate on the present.”

The Rays just took two out of three from the Orioles and my preseason MVP pick is off to a torrid start. That’s Evan Longoria, who’s also Dan Patrick’s MVP pick. Here’s an excerpt from the interview in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

DP: When’s the last time a pitcher woke you up in the middle of the night?
EL: Never. If there was ever [a bad dream], it would probably be to the sound of Metallica, and Mariano Rivera running in from centerfield.
DP: Has Rivera ruined Enter Sandman because he comes in to it?
EL: It’s one of those songs that you hear on the radio and you think about the guy. [Laughs.] It’s not a good feeling.

I thought that was pretty funny. My friend who met Longoria tells me he isn’t a nice guy in person, but that’s hard to believe.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Rays starters
Fri., 7:10 p.m. Javier Vazquez (0-0, -.--) David Price (0-0, -.--)
Sat., 3:10 p.m. CC Sabathia (0-0, 8.44) Wade Davis (0-0, -.--)
Sun., 1:40 p.m. A.J. Burnett (0-0, 5.40) James Shields (0-0, 4.50)

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Mark Teixeira
. He’s the number 3 hitter, he’s hitless this season and the Yankees took two of three from the Red Sox. With Alex Rodriguez healthy in April, he doesn’t have any excuse for a slow start.
Rays: Longoria. Baseball has a lot of young stars. Longoria is one of them and is a fun guy to watch. Something says I won’t be having too much fun watching him this weekend.

The Yankees will take two of three. Vazquez and Price will be mediocre and the Yankees will win the battle of the bullpens, Sabathia will burn the Rays’ fifth starter in Game 2, and Shields will outduel Burnett in the rubber match.

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