The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are set to kick off the 2017 Major League Baseball season at Tropicana Field.
New York Yankees fans can finally rejoice. Baseball season is back and despite the fact that this is the dawn of a new era featuring a team that will experience growing pains, the vibe across Yankee-land is still energized for the return of baseball.
The Yankees will be on the road this year taking on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. New York has lost seven of their last eight Opening Days with their last win coming on March 31, 2011, against the Detroit Tigers but with their ace Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, that can change.
In three career starts at Tropicana Field, Tanaka has given up just four earned runs in 20 innings (1.80 ERA) while striking out 17 batters. Overall against the Rays, the 28-year-old has never lost a contest (6-0, 2.82 ERA).
Going for the Rays will be Chris Archer, who’s coming off an American league-worst 19 losses in 2016. While that does sound bad, he’s one of just nine pitchers in baseball history to lose 19 games, maintain an ERA of 4.02 or less and record over 200 strikeouts in a single season. Archer faced the Yankees three times last season and lost all three decisions.
Opening Day Lineups:
Your New York #Yankees 2017 MLB Opening Day Lineup. pic.twitter.com/i6TQTklUkX
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) April 1, 2017
From Kevin Cash to you. Here's our #RaysOpeningDay lineup.#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/rbP5te1TfC
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 2, 2017
Four Times The Charm:
The Yankees are 1-2 against the Tampa Bay Rays in Opening Day history and both losses came at Tropicana Field — the first in 2004 and the second in 2012.
The Rays last hosted the Yankees on Friday, April 6, 2012, to kick off the baseball season in a game in which New York actually led 6-5 entering the bottom of the ninth, but ended up losing on a walk-off single by Carlos Pena RBI single in the ninth off Mariano Rivera.
He’s Got Your Number:
Yankees’ centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who is slated to bat fifth for just the third time in his career, has had his fair share of success against Chris Archer throughout his career.
Ellsbury is 19-for-34 (.559) off the 2015 All-Star including two home runs and seven RBI’s. One of those home runs came last season when he and Gary Sanchez took Archer back-to-back on Saturday, September 10, 2016.
Save Some For The Regular Season:
There were a ton of questions coming into spring training surrounding Greg Bird and if we’d see some rust just one year removed a season-long recovery from right labrum surgery.
Well, the Birdman answered those questions rather easily.
Bird finished the spring leading the majors in extra-base hits (16), on-base percentage (.556), slugging percentage (1.098), on-base plus slugging (1.654) and was tied with Bryce Harper for the home run lead (8).
I think you can say the Birdman is back.
Where/When To See/Hear The Game:
- When: 1:10 p.m. ET
- Where: Tropicana Field
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: MLB.tv, WatchESPN
- Recap: Elite Sports NY
Tanaka, like his first two Opening Day starts, will struggle but keep the Yankees in the contest and a late home run by Greg Bird will put New York on top en route to their first Opening Day win since 2011.
Aaron Judge will also hit two solo home runs, making him the first Yankee to hit two home runs on the first game of the season since first baseman Joe Pepitone did on April 9, 1963.