Yanks relying on Tanaka to halt slide
With the designated hitter rule not in effect in a National League park, Mark Teixeira was back at first base for the Yankees Wednesday night for Round 3 of the Subway Series that moved from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field.
This was a move probably not welcomed by the Mets, who had a field day for two nights at the Stadium in scoring 21 runs and banging out 24 hits, six of them home runs, two by Curtis Granderson.
Masahiro Tanaka was to be tested in the role as stopper of the rotation to try and halt this four-game losing streak and a six-gamer over the past two years against the Mets whom they usually dominate in this series. The Mets will treat their fans to the major-league debuts of pitching prospects Rafael Montero Wednesday night and Jacob deGrom Thursday night. deGrom was recalled from Triple A Las Vegas Wednesday to take the rotation spot of Dillon Gee, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a lat muscle strain.
Teixeira has been bothered by a tender groin that reduced his workload to a pinch-hitting assignment Monday night and the DH role Tuesday night. The Yankees need Tex’s presence in the lineup. He is batting .310 over his past 42 at-bats and has hit six home runs in his past 14 games. Teixeira leads the Yankees in home runs with seven and is tied for second on the team in RBI with 17 despite having played in only 24 games thus far this season.
Tanaka, who has a 5-0 record with a 2.57 ERA, is not the only Yankees rookie having an impressive season. How about Yangervis Solarte? The infielder who spent eight seasons in the minor leagues before getting a big-league shot with the Yankees continues to put up numbers.
Solarte entered Wednesday night’s game leading the American League in batting with a .336 average and ranked tied for fourth in the majors behind the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki (.394) and Charlie Blackmon (.342) and the Phillies’ Chase Utley (.338) and even the Padres’ Seth Smith. Solarte also had a .412 on-base percentage, which was third in the AL, trailing the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo (.457) and the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (.433).
Solarte was leading the Yankees in runs batted in (22), the second-highest total among all major league rookies behind only the White Sox’ Jose Abreu (38). Solarte is one of only six qualifying hitters in the majors (and one of two in the AL) with a batting average of at least .300, an OBP of at least .400 and a slugging percentage of at least .500. He is batting .375 with four doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI in 32 at-bats with runners in scoring position.