Yankees aim to gain ground in doubleheader vs. O’s

The Sports Xchange

July 09, 2018 at 12:10 am.

Jul 4, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia (52) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium. Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 4, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia (52) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium. Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees can make up some ground on the first-place Boston Red Sox with a doubleheader against the struggling Baltimore Orioles on Monday at Camden Yards.

New York trails the Red Sox by two games in the American League East after winning two of three against the Blue Jays over the weekend. The Yankees won’t have much time to recover after needing 10 innings to beat Toronto 2-1 on Sunday.

“We’ve got a busy day tomorrow and a tough week ahead of us,” said center fielder Brett Gardner, who the game-winning RBI single in the finale against the Blue Jays. “It’s nice that it didn’t last too long.”

Meanwhile, the Orioles have lost 12 of 13, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins this past weekend. Baltimore fell to 24-65, the worst record in the majors.

“It’s really tough,” Baltimore second baseman Jonathan Schoop said. “It’s really tough when you’re losing. It’s a lot more fun when you’re winning. I’ve been with this team four years already, this is my fifth, and I got used to winning already with this team. So, this year’s tough and we’ve got to pick each other up and keep our heads up and go out there and try to win the game and play hard and believe in ourselves.”

Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (6-3, 3.02 ERA) will start Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader at 4 p.m. Sabathia pitched well in his last outing against the Braves when he allowed two runs over six innings on Wednesday in a 6-2 win.

“I feel good,” Sabathia said after tying Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for 55th place on the all-time wins list with 243. “I always feel confident going out and trying to pitch. As long as my body can hold up, I feel like I can go and get outs.”

Sabathia did not get a decision in a 7-3 14-inning loss to the Orioles on April 6. He is 19-10 in 42 career starts against Baltimore.

The Orioles will recall Jimmy Yacabonis from Triple-A Norfolk to make the start against the veteran Sabathia. Yacabonis (0-0, 8.53 ERA) has not pitched for the Orioles since June 28 when he allowed two runs over four innings and took the loss in a start against the Seattle Mariners.

He has pitched five career games against the Yankees, allowing seven runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings.

New York has a similar scenario for Game 2 as right-hander Luis Cessa (0-1, 5.00 ERA) will be promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make the spot start.

Cessa has appeared in five games, including one start, for the Yankees this season. He last pitched in the majors June 27 against the Phillies when he took the loss after allowing three runs and five hits over three innings.

Cessa also threw one scoreless inning against Baltimore out of the bullpen on April 7. He is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Orioles.

Baltimore will also have a young right-hander on the mound for the night cap with Yefry Ramirez (0-2, 2.51) scheduled to make his third career start.

He allowed two runs (one earned) over five innings in his last start against the Phillies on July 4.

“Yefry, he’s got my eye,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about his young pitcher. “He’s got a feel for it. He’s got a nice demeanor about him. The thing I like about it, he can defend himself against left-handed hitters, and that’s what he’s got to do up here.”

New York could have left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman (left knee) and OF Aaron Hicks (left hamstring) available for the doubleheader in Baltimore. Both players exited Saturday’s game with injuries and were held out Sunday.