ANAHEIM -- The Yankees can win a series tonight with a victory over the Los Angeles Angels, but they are depending on an emergency starter and a rookie backup catcher to help them do it.
Vidal Nuno, hurriedly inserted into the rotation two weeks ago to replace the injured Ivan Nova, gets the ball tonight. He will be throwing it to John Ryan Murphy, who's also an emergency replacement for the injured Francisco Cervelli. Get used to this pairing, because this will be the fourth time Joe Girardi has put them together, and probably not the last.
Girardi said it was time for Brian McCann to get a day off, especially against a lefty starter, and has liked the way Nuno and Murphy have worked together so far.
Nuno and Murphy were the battery against the Angels on April 26 at Yankees Stadium, a game the Yankees won, 4-3. Nuno worked 4 1/3 innings that day, allowing three earned runs on five hits, including a home run by Mike Trout. His Angel counterpart that day was LHP Hector Santiago, who took the loss. Santiago is starting for the Angels tonight, too.
Here is the lineup the Yankees will field against Santiago:
Derek Jeter SS
Notes: Girardi, sage that he is, chose not to respond directly when asked what he thought of comments by Mariano Rivera regarding Robinson Cano in Mo's recently published autobiography. “Those are Mariano’s comments," Girardi said. "That’s probably why I’ve chosen not to write books. I’ve had plenty of opportunities with some of my experiences; right now, I just don’t think it would be a good idea for me.” ... Most of Girardi's bullpen is available tonight with the exception of Shawn Kelley, who worked two nights in a row, and Alfredo Aceves, still recovering from his 5 1/3 inning stint on Sunday ... Girardi said that for now at least, he will limit David Robertson's appearances to one inning, hence his going to Kelley to get the final out of the eighth last night ... The pitchers took batting practice again this afternoon, and today it was David Phelps's turn to go yard against pitching coach/BP pitcher Larry Rothschild. "They hit home runs when I allow them to," Rothschild said. ... Masahiro Tanaka, who starts the weekend series Friday night against the Brewers in Milwaukee, put on an impressive display with two home runs yesterday but said he is not looking forward to his time in the batter's box. "I'm a little bit scared," he said, adding that aside from perhaps bunting, "I'm not anticipating swinging at all." ... Alfonso Soriano needs two hits to become just the seventh player in baseball history to have at least 1,000 hits in each league (he had 1,077 in the NL). The list includes Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Dave Winfield, as well as Vlad Guerrero, Fred McGriff, Orlando Cabrera and Carlos Lee ... No Yankee has more than nine career ABs vs. Santiago, but Derek Jeter is 3-for-5 against him, and Soriano is 4-for-9 with two home runs.