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Cardinals next three games are against the Yankees

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Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

You might be wondering when the last time the Cardinals played the Yankees (in 2014, the Yankees took two out of three games from the Cardinals and in 2005 the Cardinals took two of three from the Yankees). You might be wondering when the last time the Cardinals played at Yankee Stadium (technically never as the Cardinals haven’t been to New York to play the Yankees since 2003 when New York swept them and the current Yankee Stadium hadn’t been built yet). The Cardinals next three games are against the Yankees.

In the previous 20 years of interleague play, two of the most storied franchises in baseball history met just three times. The Cardinals and Yankees played more series against each other before interleague play (Five times the Cardinals and Yankees have played in the World Series with the Cardinals winning three) than they have during interleague play.

Is there any more history you might need to know? The Yankees did trade Willie McGee to the Cardinals for Bob Sykes after the 1981 season. The last trade the two teams made with each other that involved a major leaguer occurred in 2003 when Sterling Hithcock came to the Cardinals for Ben Julianel and Justin Pope, per Baseball-Reference.

Cardinals-Yankees history is interesting and kind of nice, but Cardinals against Matt Holliday just feels odd. The last time Matt Holliday played against the Cardinals was May 8, 2008. He went 4 for 5, all singles with a strikeout and three runs scored. This was the Cardinals lineup for that game.

Player Position
Skip Schumaker CF
Brian Barton RF
Albert Pujols 1B
Ryan Ludwick LF
Yadier Molina C
Brendan Ryan 3B
Adam Kennedy 2B
Kyle Lohse P
Cesar Izturis SS

Russ Springer and Mike Parisi relieved Kyle Lohse in a losing effort. Troy Glaus and Chris Duncan also got into the game. That was a really long time ago. Lboros was discussing potential replacements for Jason Isringhausen as closer. (Here’s the game thread and the overflow thread for those interested).

For his part, Holliday is off to a great start hitting .276/.462/.448 for a wRC+ of 174 as the Yankees’ designated hitter. The Cardinals passed on an option to pay him $17 million, instead choosing to let him go for $1 million so the Cardinals could improve their defense. Matt Adams has made four starts in left field for the Cardinals.

As for the rest of the Yankees, you might know Did Gregorious and Gary Sanchez, but both of them are injured. Cardinals legend Pete Kozma has actually made a start at shortstop, but it would appear Ronald Torreyes is in line for most of the playing time right now. Torreyes makes a lot of contact, but doesn’t do much with it. Andrew Romine is currently catching for the Yankees. Not much is expected of him.

Starlin Castro, who you might remember from when the Cubs were bad, is the starting second baseman. Brett Gardner keeps plugging along, putting up average offensive numbers along with solid defense in left field. Jacoby Ellsbury is still owed a ton of money and hasn’t had a good season since his first with the Yankees in 2014, but he is off to a good start this season even though he has yet to take a walk.

Chase Headley is off to a great start with the Yankees this season, and is a decent player overall at third base. Out in right field, the Yankees actually employ someone with larger arms than Matt Holliday in Aaron Judge, who can hit some pretty prodigious blasts. At first base, the Yankees have Greg Bird. He missed all of last season after a quick start in 2015 with 11 homers in under 200 plate appearances, but he is off to a slow start this year. Chris Carter strikes out a lot and hits a ton of homers, but hasn’t really done either just yet.

As for the pitching, Masahiro Tanaka will make the start tonight for the Yankees. Tanaka hasn’t gotten off to a good start with an awful start against Tampa Bay and just a bad start against Baltimore. In total, he’s got 8 strikeouts against 6 walks in 7.2 innings. If Tanaka turns things around, he’ll likely opt out of his contract at the end of the season. If he doesn’t, the Yankees will be on the hook for another three years and $67 million. Michael Wacha will make his second start of the season for the Cardinals.

On Saturday, C.C. Sabathia will start for the Yankees. He is in the final year of the 5-year, $122 million contract he signed in 2011 after opting out of his first contract. This year is actually the vesting option after pitching a full season last year. All told, the Yankees will have paid Sabathia $211 million over nine years and will receive pretty close to that in value, though more than half of that value occurred before the opt-out. Sabathia is off to a good start by ERA, but he has just five strikeouts against six walks so that isn’t likely to hold up going forward. Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez takes the mound for St. Louis.

On Sunday, Michael Pineda will pitch for the Yankees. Pineda will strike a lot of guys out and limit walks, but what else happens is a complete unknown. He’s been prone to hard contact and homers over the last few years, but he has also thrown gems, like in his last start. Against Tampa Bay, he struck out 11 with no walks and one run in 7.2 innings, taking a perfect game into the sixth. Adam Wainwright will continue to look for a working formula on Sunday night.

Tonight, 6:05 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest, MLBN

Saturday, April 15, 12:05 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest, MLBN

Sunday, April 16, 7:05 pm CT, ESPN