Yanks, Tribe have come a long way since April

This is a much different Indians team the Yankees will face Monday in the makeup doubleheader at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Then again, the Yanks will be different, too. After all, three of the players in their lineup April 9, the last time the Yanks faced the Tribe, are currently on the disabled list – Kevin Youkilis, Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli.

When the final two games of the scheduled four-game set with the Indians were rained out, the Yankees were 4-4 and the Indians 3-5. Well, look at them now, each atop its division. This is something out of 1998.

The Yankees, alone in first place in the American League East by one game over Baltimore, are 19-11 since leaving Cleveland, have won eight of their past 10 series and are riding a five-game winning streak, all on the road. The Indians are 17-10 since they last faced the Yankees. The Tribe’s record dropped to 8-13 by April 28 when Cleveland fell into last place in the AL Central, but the Indians have gone into resurgence by winning 12 of 14 games since then to move into a first-place tie in the division with the Tigers. The Indians have not lost their past seven series, with five victories and two splits. They last lost a series when the Red Sox swept a three-gamer April 16-18 at Progressive Field.

In compliance with Major League Baseball’s 26th-man rule for doubleheaders, the Yankees recalled infielder Corban Joseph from Triple A Scranton. He was in the starting lineup for the first game, playing first base and batting seventh. In the second game, Yankees rookie pitcher Vidal Nuno will make his first major-league start, the first lefthander to do so for the Yankees since Chase Wright April 17, 2007 in a 10-3 victory over the Indians at Yankee Stadium. Nuno will be the first lefthander other than CC Sabathia or Andy Pettitte to start a game for them since Kei Igawa May 9, 2008 in a 6-5 loss at Detroit.

Nuno will be opposed in the second game by Indians righthander Trevor Bauer (1-1, 2.70 ERA), who will make his first career start against the Yankees. They have lost three of four games year when the opposing pitcher had made his first career start against them. The losses were in games started by the Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin April 18, the Astros’ Lucas Harrell April 29 and the Athletics’ Dan Straily May 5. Their lone victory was in the April 17 game started by the D-backs’ Wade Miley.

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