Series Alert: Yankees open series vs. Pirates

Where & When To Watch

Tonight: Coverage of Game 1 begins at 6 p.m. on YES and the YES App.

Saturday: Coverage of Game 2 begins at 5:30 p.m. on YES and the YES App.

Sunday: Coverage of Game 3 begins at 12:30 p.m. on YES and the YES App.

Leading Off

The Yankees are starting the back end of a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three in Pittsburgh as Hispanic Heritage Month begins. Friday is also Roberto Clemente Day, and Aaron Judge is the Yankees’ nominee for the prestigious award that bears the name of the Pirates legend. You can vote for Judge at from now through Oct. 1. Once an ace in black and yellow, Gerrit Cole will start in Steel City tonight for the first time since the Pirates traded him to Houston prior to the 2018 season.

How ‘Bout That

Zach McAllister will never forget the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Red Sox! Selected to the Yankees’ active roster that afternoon, McAllister made a couple of plays and worked a scoreless inning in his first big league appearance since 2018. It was also a full-circle moment for the 35-year-old. He was drafted by the Yankees out of high school in 2006, but the Yanks traded him to Cleveland while he was a Minor Leaguer so he never pitched in a game for the Bronx Bombers…until Tuesday. In doing so, McAllister became only the seventh player since the MLB Draft began in 1965 to sign with a team after being drafted and go at least 17 years until they appeared in a game for that club. None of the other six are Yankees – the player who previously held the longest gap of that sort for the Yanks was infielder Mike Fischlin, who went 11 years between signing with the Yankees as a 1975 draft pick and playing for the team in 1986.

Pinstriped Pulse

Aaron Judge’s grand slam Thursday night in Boston was his second of the year and the sixth of his career. It also gave him 32 home runs in 2023, the fourth-highest total in the American League, while playing in just 93 games due to the time he missed because of his toe injury. Oswald Peraza has started to find his stroke – the 23-year-old is batting .375 over his last 10 games and he will take a seven-game hitting streak into Pittsburgh. Michael King continued his impressive transition from the bullpen to the rotation by striking out eight batters in 4.2 innings during game one of Thursday’s doubleheader. King now has an ERA of 1.27 through five outings since becoming a full-fledged starter, and his performance yesterday lowered his season ERA to 2.77, moving him past the 2.79 mark of Gerrit Cole and giving King the American League lead among pitchers who have worked at least 80 innings.

By finishing the Yankees’ series finale in Boston, Tommy Kahnle became the sixth Yankee this year to record multiple saves. Estevan Florial has logged a hit in each of his last three games. In addition to Cole, this series will also be a homecoming for Clay Holmes, who was developed by Pittsburgh and appeared in 91 games for the team before being traded to the Yankees, plus the Yanks will get their first look at Miguel Andujar since the Pirates claimed him off waivers last September.

Probable Pitchers

Only three pitchers have been announced for this series so far. Cole will start in his return to PNC Park when he works the opener opposite Johan Oviedo. Cole will try to reinforce his case for the American League Cy Young Award at the venue he called home during the first five years of his MLB career starting with his debut season of 2013, a year in which Cole helped the Pirates capture the attention of the baseball world, a renaissance 94-win season that earned the club its first trip to the playoffs since 1992. Carlos Rodón is scheduled to work the series finale Sunday after putting together a bounce-back effort in his last start. Following a rough night against Detroit, Rodón gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw Tuesday in game one against Boston, but then he buckled down, particularly with runners on base, and ended up working five innings of one-run ball while striking out nine batters, his highest K total over his first 11 games as a Yankee.