A coronavirus outbreak among the Miami Marlins created a trickle-down effect for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.
Instead of hosting the Philadelphia Phillies for their home opener at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, the Yankees will head to Baltimore to open a two-game series with the Orioles, who were slated to host the Marlins.
The Yankees were originally due to face Philadelphia for a pair of two-game, home-and-home series at each team’s ballpark. Due to several members of the Marlins’ traveling party testing positive after a three-game series in Philadelphia last weekend, the Yankees’ first two games at Philadelphia were postponed well before the scheduled first pitch, and by Tuesday afternoon, the Yankees learned they would be headed to Baltimore.
“We’re in a world where no one has dealt with anything like this before, so I think we all need to be pliable and be able to pivot and at least be open to adjust,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Tuesday.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “As of right now, we get to continue our season, and we’re excited about the opportunity. 2020 is unlike anything we’ve experienced.”
Adjustment also applies to New York’s pitching staff. Originally, J.A. Happ and then Gerrit Cole were set to pitch the two games in Philadelphia. Instead, Cole will pitch Wednesday, followed by Happ.
Cole is coming off five stellar innings in his Yankees debut on Thursday in a rain-shortened, 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals. He has a pair of no-decisions and a 1.38 ERA in two previous starts against Baltimore.
The Orioles originally were scheduled to have a home-and-home with the Marlins, having already traveled to Miami when the Monday and Tuesday games were postponed. They were going to host the Marlins on Wednesday and Thursday but instead will face the Yankees, whom they were originally supposed to host Aug. 3-5.
In normal times, when fans were allowed in the building and terms such as social distancing and facemasks were not part of the daily vocabulary, the Yankees won 17 of 19 meetings against the Orioles last season. The Yankees dropped two of three in the first series between the teams and then won 16 in a row, giving them a tie for the third-longest winning streak against an opponent in team history.
While a sudden change in travel is not ideal for any team, the destination and opponent might be for Gleyber Torres, who was among many Yankees to dominate Baltimore’s pitching. Torres hit .394 (26-for-66) with 13 homers — more than a third of his season total — and 20 RBIs in 18 games against the O’s last year.
Torres also helped the Yankees get a series win in Washington to open the 2020 season. In New York’s 3-2 win on Sunday, Torres homered in the seventh inning and delivered the tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth off Sean Doolittle.
The Orioles are coming off a series win in Boston. After dropping the opener 13-2 on Friday, the Orioles totaled 20 hits in the next two games and ended the series with a 7-4 win on Sunday, when Anthony Santander and Rio Ruiz homered while Jose Iglesias had four hits.
“I think our guys are taking this seriously,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said Sunday of his team’s approach amid the pandemic. “I think that we’re having a lot of conversations about it. We’re continuing to remind each other that it’s still happening.
“I think our guys are being really careful and they understand the importance of being as safe and as healthy as we possibly can and following the protocols that are so important to our organization. And our guys have been following that, and I expect that to continue.”
Asher Wojciechowski, who was originally due to start Monday for Baltimore, will start Wednesday. He went 4-8 with a 4.92 ERA in 17 appearances last season with the Orioles and was 2-1 with a 4.44 ERA in his final five starts.
The right-hander’s only start against the Yankees in his career was Aug. 6 last season in Baltimore, when he allowed five runs and six hits in four innings of a 9-4 loss.
–Field Level Media