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Series Preview: Yankees vs Diamondbacks

The Yankees return to the field today after having the day off yesterday to face the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yesterday’s off day was one that was like no other with the events that took place in Boston. It is hard to write and not give prayers to those who were affected by the ruthless and gutless attacks. Even though the Red Sox are bitter rivals, let’s throw that out the window and give our best to those in need.

At Yankee Stadium tonight, the Yankees will hold a moment of silence as well as play “Sweet Caroline” after the third inning. This is a great showing of respect and class for the Yankees to show the city of Boston. As you watch the game keep those in Boston in your heart and your mind. Sports will always be there to help us through the toughest times, and tonight it will do just that across the baseball landscape.

For the action on the field, the Yankees will take on the Diamondbacks in a three game set in the Bronx. Starting on the mound for the Pinstripes tonight will be Ivan Nova who is looking to record his first win of the year. Following Nova will be staff ace, CC Sabathia and then Phil Hughes, as Andy Pettitte has his start moved back yet again. Sabathia is looking to win his third straight start after losing on opening day. Nova and Hughes need to pick up the slack as the rest of the Yankees’ staff has been very impressive thus far this year. If the back end of the rotation can step up and contribute wins, and/or quality starts, the Yankees could remain competitive as they wait for their stars to align.

Swinging against those Yankee arms will be a young Diamondbacks lineup centered around, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and center, Miguel Montero. Surrounding the two young bats are savvy veterans Aaron Hill (EDIT- Hill has been placed on the 15-day disabled list), Martin Prado and Cody Ross. Even more veteran leadership is on the D’Backs’ bench with two former Yankees Eric Chavez and Eric Hinske. Arizona is still trying to compensate for the loss of their biggest bat, Justin Upton, who was traded during the off-season to the Atlanta Braves. After 12 games, all looks okay for the Arizona offense that ranks seventh in run scored in baseball and have an 8-4 record. They are a dangerous team that the Yankees need to be careful with, especially with the dimensions of Yankee Stadium.

Vernon Wells is one of the many pieces that are helping the Yankees succeed this season

As for the Yankees bats, things are starting to heat up as they have moved up to 10thin Major League Baseball for total runs scored, fourth in the league in home runs and third in team batting average. The offensive output has been a complete team effort as all players are hitting and contributing. New additions Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis are all coming up in big spots. The three have combined to hit .321 with 8 home runs and 19 RBI.  This is exactly what the Yankees need to be successful until they have their big bats back in the line up.

They will try to stay hot against a talented Diamondbacks pitching staff. Taking the mound for Arizona will first be Brandon McCarthy, followed by Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin. McCarthy who is in his first year in Arizona has struggled in his move to the National League giving up 10 runs in his 11.2 innings this year. Miley has continued his success from last season starting 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts this year. Corbin is also 2-0 this season with a 1.50 ERA as his second year in the league has started brilliantly. Only McCarthy has started in the Bronx before, in his time with the Athletics, Rangers and White Sox.  This inexperience from the Diamondbacks starters could be an advantage for the Yankees as they look to take this interleague series.

As this series kicks off tonight in the Bronx, we have the Yankees playing the Diamondbacks after an awful attack on our country. Almost 12 years ago the Yankees tried to give the New York area some relief after the attacks of 9/11, now these two teams take the field again. While these are only baseball games, they give us all a release from everything going on around us.

Enjoy these games, because that is why they are being played, but as you watch keep those in Boston in your thoughts and prayers.