NEW YORK -- What appears, on paper anyway, to be a soft spot in the New York Yankees schedule begins tonight when they open a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies, by the numbers the worst team in baseball, at Yankee Stadium.
But there are no gimmes for this Yankees team -- remember the two games in Miami last week? -- and there are interesting sidelights to the next three games, beginning with a look at Michael Pineda (8-3. 3.54) tonight. Pineda pitched excellently against the Marlins here last Wednesday (6 2/3 IP, just one hit, a solo home run, in a 2-1 Yankees victory) but he had lost three of his previous five starts and had an ERA of 5.40 in that stretch.
Also, no Mark Teixeira tonight; the Yankees home run and RBI leader (18 and 49) is out with a persistent stiff neck, an injury that forced him to leave a game early last Tuesday and kept him on the bench Wednesday. In Teixeira's place, Garrett Jones will play first base.
Here's the lineup:
Chris Young LF
Stephen Drew 2B
Pineda won his only career start against the Phillies, allowing one run on two hits over six innings on June 17, 2011 while a rookie with the Seattle Mariners. ... Phillies starter RHP Kevin Correia (0-1, 1.69) has faced the Yankees twice (one start), allowing one run and nine hits over a total of 6 2/3 innings, but has never gotten a decision against them. Stephen Drew (16-for-56, .286) and Chris Young (12-for-46, four HRs, .261) have the most experience facing him.