Robinson Cano returned to Yankee Stadium earlier this year and was greeted by some not so warm welcomes. This time he welcomes the Yankees into his new home in Seattle. The Mariners are coming off of a nice 6-1 road trip, so the Yankees will have their work cut out for them. The Mariners bring out Hisashi Iwakuma, who is 4-2 with a 2.66 ERA this season. Iwakuma has 5 pitches: a four-seamer, which usually tops out at about 92 mph, a splitter, which is usually his out pitch, a slider, a curveball, and a shuuto–a pitch used in Japan which has been described as a two-seam splitter.
The Yankees send Vidal Nuno to the hill…… (crickets chirping). Nuno has been struggling all year long. He is 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA. The Yankees will either need him to pitch better, or put up a lot of runs if they expect to win this game.
Yankees’ center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been on a tear ever since hitting coach Kevin Long pointed out a hitch in his swing two weeks ago. He is hitting .375 with a homer in that time frame, and is looking like the player the Yankees had envisioned when they signed him. Alfonso Soriano is in a woeful slump. Since hittng his last homer on May 17 against the Pirates at Yankee Stadium, Soriano is batting .159 (7-for-44) with just three RBI. He also has whiffed 20 times. Overall, Soriano is batting .229 with six homers and 20 RBI in 55 games, but expect his time vs lefties to help him get back on track.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Ichiro Suzuki will play right field against right-handers and Soriano versus lefties. With Iwakuma on the mound tonight (a right-hander) expect Ichiro to be in the lineup tonight. That’s good speed with Ellsbury, Gardner, Ichiro on the base paths.