Yanks get first look at Nationals Park
The Yankees played their first game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Friday. Since 1961, the beginning of the expansion era in the major leagues, the Yankees have an 18-18 record in their first games at new ballparks.
The Yankees and Nationals entered the game with six-game winning streaks. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Yankees played a game in which both they and their opponent entered with winning streaks of six or more games was Sept. 16, 1968 at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit with the Yanks carrying a 10-game winning streak into the game against the Tigers, who were on a six-game winning streak. Detroit won, 9-1.
The Nationals, who were 38-23 (.623), were one of only two clubs with better records than the Yanks’ American League leading 37-25 (.597). The other was the Dodgers at 40-24 (.625). The last time the Yankees played a Washington club with a better record was in 1969 against the Senators, who entered the AL as an expansion club in 1961 and moved to Texas in 1972 and became the Rangers. The original Senators franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Twins. The current Washington franchise was originally the Montreal Expos, who started in the National League in 1969 and became the Nationals in 2005.
Relief pitcher David Robertson was back on the Yankees’ 25-man roster as righthander David Phelps was optioned to Class A Tampa. Phelps will eventually go to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as a starter, but the Yankees want him to build up arm strength. Phelps, who was 1-2 with a 2.94 ERA, has pitched only two-thirds of an inning since May 28.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to keep Rafael Soriano in the closer role with Robertson likely to return to his familiar eighth-inning setup role. Lefthander Boone Logan has pitched 10 consecutive scoreless outings since May 22, a period covering five innings. He has allowed one earned run in 17 appearances on the road this season, having surrendered a solo home run to the Rays’ Jeff Keppinger in his first road outing April 8 at St. Petersburg, Fla. Logan has held opponents scoreless in each of his past 16 outings. He has not allowed a left-handed batter to reach base since May 6 at Kansas City (Jarrod Dyson on a single) and has retired his last nine.
There was a familiar face in the Yankees’ dugout. Gene Monahan came out of retirement to work this weekend’s series for his successor and long-time partner, Steve Donohue, who is attending his daughter’s high school graduation.
An official scoring change was made by Major League Baseball for the Yankees-Rays game
June 7. In the top of the fourth inning, Drew Sutton’s two-run double has been changed to a double, one RBI with the second run scoring on an error by right fielder Jayson Nix. That made the run unearned against CC Sabathia, who gave up five runs but four were not earned. Nix was in Friday night’s game at second base as Robinson Cano was not in the starting lineup for the first time this season and got an extra day’s rest following Thursday’s open date.