Preview: Yankees (73-58) at Red Sox (61-71)
Venue: Fenway Park
Date: September 02, 2015 4:05 PM EDT
While the news regarding their All-Star slugger certainly doesn’t bode well, the New York Yankees are finding ways to win without Mark Teixeira.
As they look to keep fighting in the AL East chase, the visiting Yankees are hoping Masahiro Tanaka can continue to pitch well Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox.
After missing three games at Atlanta and Monday’s 4-3 loss at Fenway Park, Teixeira was sent back to New York for further tests on his injured shin. The results weren’t positive as the first baseman will miss at least two weeks with a significant bone bruise.
That’s a big loss since Teixeira has a team-high 31 home runs and 79 RBIs.
“We’re going to be forced to see what we’ve got further with Greg (Bird),” general manager Brian Cashman told MLB’s official website, “and when we’re up against some left-handed pitching, (manager Joe Girardi’s) going to be forced to look for some lineup flexibility.”
Bird started against left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in the opener, and he’s 1 for 8 with four strikeouts in this series. Alex Rodriguez has been discussed as an option at first base versus southpaws, though he’s played two games there in his 21 seasons.
New York (73-58) will face lefty Henry Owens (2-1, 4.03 ERA) as it goes after its eighth win in 10 road games and 11th in 14 at Fenway. Stephen Drew had a two-run double and Brett Gardner added his 13th home run Tuesday when the Yankees had five hits and struck out 15 times in a 3-1 win that kept them 1 1/2 games back of first-place Toronto.
They have had two lopsided victories and won two pitching duels on a six-game trip that ends Wednesday.
‘The gratifying thing at this time of year is wins, no matter how you do it,’ Girardi said. ‘If you get a break or however it happens, that’s the gratifying thing.’
Since enduring a rough patch in late June, Tanaka (10-6, 3.62) has limited opponents to a .211 batting average while giving up three earned runs or less in nine of 10 starts. He’s been sharp on the road this season, going 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight outings.
The right-hander gave up two first-inning runs Friday before settling down in a 15-4 win at Atlanta. He lasted seven, allowing three runs and five hits while striking out seven.
Tanaka is 2-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two home starts against Boston (61-71) this season. He yielded seven runs and seven hits over a career-low 1 2-3 innings in a 10-4 loss at Fenway last September.
Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez have homered off Tanaka this season. Ramirez, though, is day to day after missing five straight games due to a sore right shoulder.
David Ortiz (2 for 11), Xander Bogaerts (2 for 13) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (1 for 7) have struggled when facing Tanaka. Bogaerts had two hits Tuesday and is batting .344 over his last 22 games, while Bradley is 6 for 7 with four doubles over his past three.
Owens is making a case to be part of Boston’s rotation next season, going 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his last two starts. He made his big league debut Aug. 4 at Yankee Stadium, surrendering three runs over five innings in a 13-3 loss.