First Pitch: Taking care of Tanaka

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
9:00
AM ET
HOUSTON -- The Yankees were scheduled to fly to Tampa after Thursday night's game and arrive in Toronto at 5 a.m. The tough travel schedule makes it very likely that Derek Jeter will not start on Friday.

With the Yankees having a day game Saturday after the 7:30 p.m. start on Friday, it is a difficult little stretch. However, there could be another reason that Girardi will choose to rest Jeter on Friday.

With Masahiro Tanaka making his first start, Girardi may want to have a little more range at short to pick up the grounders caused by Tanaka's menu of seven pitches, including his go-to splitter and slider. If the slick-fielding Brendan Ryan weren't hurt, this would be a perfect spot for him. Since Ryan is still on the DL with his back injury, Dean Anna figures to make his initial Yankees start on Friday night.

Pitching matchups: Friday vs. Blue Jays: Tanaka (24-0, 1.27 ERA in Japan in 2013) vs. Dustin McGowan (0-0, 2.45 in 2013)

Saturday: Michael Pineda (no record in 2013) vs. R.A. Dickey (0-1, 10.80 in 2014)

Sunday: CC Sabathia (0-1, 9.00 ERA in 2014) vs. Drew Hutchinson (1-0, 0.00 in 2014).

Question of the Day: How will Tanaka do?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146