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Apr 1, 2024 8:18 am

Yankees, Diamondbacks clash after opening-weekend success

juan soto

The Arizona Diamondbacks will host the New York Yankees on Monday night in an early season interleague matchup, a meeting between two confident clubs through their first series of the year.

New York enters play as a winner of its first four games, earning a sweep in its season-opening series in Houston over the Astros. It is the first 4-0 start for the Yankees since 2003 and just the fourth since 1950.

Arizona, for its part, took three of four games at home against the Colorado Rockies.

New York on Monday will hand the ball to Luis Gil, who holds a 1-1 mark and a 3.78 ERA in seven career starts but hasn’t pitched at the big league level since May 12, 2022. Gil injured his arm the following week in a Triple-A game and underwent Tommy John surgery. He has never faced Arizona.

Arizona will counter with third-year pitcher Ryne Nelson, who started 27 games in 2023, finishing with an 8-8 record and a 5.31 ERA. He has not faced the Yankees.

New York hopes its series-opening sweep was a sign of things to come in 2024, especially the continuation of the hot start of new acquisition Juan Soto.

After a season and a half in San Diego with the Padres, Soto was traded to the Yankees in December and then agreed to a one-year, $31 million contract with the club.

Soto had three hits and the game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning in Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the Astros. He went 9-for-17 with four RBIs in the series, helping to lead his new team to its seventh consecutive win in Houston.

“I just try to do my job,” Soto said. “I look at each situation and see what I can do to help my team the most. That’s what my mindset is when I step up to the plate.”

As for Arizona, a run differential of plus-18 was key in taking three of four from its National League West rival.

The season couldn’t have started any better Thursday for the Diamondbacks, who crushed the Rockies 16-1. That included a franchise-record 14 runs in the third inning.

Arizona didn’t have that kind of offensive output Sunday, but five runs on five hits were more than enough in its 5-1 victory.

The Diamondbacks’ pitching was the story in the fourth game of the opening series, as starter Brandon Pfaadt threw five innings of one-run ball, followed by four scoreless innings from the Arizona bullpen.

“Brandon did a really good job, especially in his final inning,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “His pitch count was climbing, he was right about at his limit. … He went and stood on it and made some pitches and got that last big out of the fifth.”

The Arizona offense gave enough run support in the first inning alone, as Lourdes Gurriel knocked in a run with a single, which was followed by a two-run home run by Christian Walker on the ensuing at bat.

Monday will mark the Yankees’ first trip to Arizona since a two-game set from April 30-May 1, 2019.

–Field Level Media

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