This week in Yankees baseball

After all the discussion following a spring full of injuries to key players, the season opens this week and we will get our first real glimpse of what the 2013 season will bring for the New York Yankees.  Right off the bat (pun intended), the Yankees will open the season with a series against old rivals, the Boston Red Sox. After three games with the beantowners, the Yankees will finish off the week with a series in Detroit, the place where last season ended.

Every week for the season, Monday morning will bring you a preview of the week to come. Early in the season, the preview will not only talk about the pitching match ups and the games scheduled, but also the weather, which is always a dicey proposition in April. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and let’s play ball!

The season starts today at 1:05 at Yankee Stadium III. The weather forecast is for a high temperature of 57, but showers are predicted for the afternoon. There is an off day scheduled for Tuesday as a buffer in case today’s game cannot be played. Let us all hope that is not a necessity.

The season opens with C.C. Sabathia versus Jon Lester. Sabathia has been money for the Yankees ever since he came to New York. But this past off season, he had minor surgery on his elbow and Yankee fans will hold their collective breaths that he will be the same old C.C.

The Red Sox have a new pitching coach in Juan Nieves and Nieves has done the impossible it seems and has stressed a faster tempo for his Red Sox charges. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have been among the slowest starters in baseball the past couple of seasons (following the lead of Josh Beckett, no doubt). Lester and Buchholz have been much faster in pace this spring and have been much more effective. Buchholz had an average pace of 28 seconds last season and has averaged 16 seconds between pitches this spring. We’ll have to see how that follows up into the season. Lester, a left-handed pitcher, will get the Opening Day nod.

After a day off Tuesday, the series will resume on Wednesday for two straight night games. Wednesday night will be a cold one. The high for the day is supposed to be 47 and it will be breezy with winds at 15 MPH with gusts over 20 MPH and the temperature will probably sink into the low 40s during the game. Brrrr! Hiroki Kuroda is scheduled to face the aforementioned Clay Buchholz. Game time is 7:05.

Thursday is supposed to be a little warmer and Andy Pettitte will get the start Thursday night against Ryan Dempster, making his Red Sox debut.

Things to watch for this series: Can this patchwork Yankee lineup score? Can a quicker tempo Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz recapture some old magic? Will Mariano Rivera get his first save since early last season? And we get our first look at Jackie Bradley, Jr. (probably on Wednesday).

The Yankees will fly out of New York right after Thursday night’s game to Detroit for a weekend series against the Tigers. Yeah, a series in Detroit in early April is always a good idea. Not. The extended forecast for Detroit next weekend calls for a nice day on Friday (day game, which is good), a colder day on Saturday for a 4:05 start, and a rainy day on Sunday.

The Yankees have yet to announce a pitching line beyond Thursday. Either Ivan Nova or David Phelps will get the call on Friday, probably Nova. Doug Fister will pitch for the Tigers.

On Saturday, the Yankees can go back to Sabathia on his fifth day or start either Nova or Phelps depending on which starts on Friday. Max Scherzer will go for the Tigers.

Neither team has announced a Sunday pitching line. It will probably be Justin Verlander for the Tigers and either Sabathia (if he did not pitch on Saturday) or Kuroda.

What to watch for in this series: It’s doubtful the players feel this way, but the fans, at least, will have to exorcise some demons from the ALCS in this series. Can the Yankees handle Miguel Cabrera? Will Ivan Nova bounce back this season?

Real, honest-to-goodness Major League Baseball is back! Enjoy the week and enjoy the season. And come see us regularly as we all journey through the season together.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.