Two days late, the New York Yankees will finally play their home opener -- a home opener like never before and one they hope never happens again.
After coronavirus concerns pushed the Yankees' scheduled home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies back and created an in-season schedule change, the Yankees finally play at home Friday night when they begin a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees were originally slated to face the Phillies as the second part of a four-game, home-and-home series but none of those games were played due to numerous members of the Miami Marlins testing positive for coronavirus after they spent last weekend in Philadelphia. It is possible those games could get played next week, but as of Thursday night it has not been officially announced.
The Yankees did not play Monday and Tuesday in Philadelphia and when the games in New York were postponed, they pivoted to a two-game series in Baltimore as the Orioles were slated to play four games against Miami (whose games were also postponed for this week). After earning a 9-3 win Wednesday, the Yankees withstood a lengthy rain delay and posted an 8-6 win Thursday on a three-run homer by Aaron Judge in the ninth inning.
"Definitely unique, but to go home with four wins, 4-1 to start the season, obviously you take that," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of his team's odyssey. "So, a good start for us in not real great conditions where guys had to make some adjustments and had to adapt on the fly. I feel like our guys have a great frame of mind moving forward."
Judge's homer came long after Gleyber Torres exited the game with an elbow injury after being hit by a pitch in the first inning. Boone said Torres -- diagnosed with an elbow contusion -- is day-to-day while the shortstop said he thought he would be able to play Friday.
The Red Sox opened the season with a 13-2 win over Baltimore but then allowed 29 runs during a four-game losing streak. Boston heads to Yankee Stadium after sweeping two games from the New York Mets at Citi Field, following up a 6-5 win on Wednesday with a 4-2 win Thursday.
Boston's Christian Vazquez hit two homers Thursday and is 8-for-19 with four homers and eight RBIs so far.
"We'll keep him out there," Boston manager Ron Roenicke said of his catcher. "As long as he's catching like this and feeling strong, we'll keep putting him out there.
Jordan Montgomery was originally going to get the pitching start in the home opener before the postponements and will still get the nod after Gerrit Cole and J.A. Happ started in Baltimore. Montgomery made two appearances last September in Toronto after recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2018 and the Yankees are hoping to see the pitcher who went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 2017.
"I'm just ready to get out there again and kind of roll with the momentum," Montgomery said Thursday. "I'm throwing the ball well. I feel like I'm as ready as I've ever been."
In 2017, he led AL rookies in starts (29), strikeouts (144) and innings (155 1/3).
Montgomery was 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA in six starts in 2018 before getting hurt and made his final exhibition start July 19 against the Mets when he allowed two hits in five innings while throwing 59 pitches.
Ryan Weber will start for Boston after allowing six runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings in Sunday's 7-4 loss to Baltimore when his sinkerball was not resulting in ground balls.
"I was getting more fly balls than normal," he said. "I wasn't really able to rely on getting that groundball."
Weber is 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in three career appearances against the Yankees and those were all last season.
Weber is 1-6 with a 6.55 ERA in 12 career appearances as a starter.
The Yankees won the season series 14-5 and outscored the Red Sox 53-27 in going 8-1 at home last season.
--Field Level Media