New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs
- The Yankees split a doubleheader with the Pirates on Sunday, losing Game 2 by the score of 5-3, and snapping their four-game winning streak in the process. New York has had at least a share of first place in the AL East for 25 days in 2014 -- most of any team in the division.
- Chicago took two of three from Milwaukee over the weekend, winning just its second series of the season -- fewest of any team in the majors. The Cubs are 12-6 when scoring at least four runs in 2014 (3-21 when scoring fewer than four times).
- New York took both meetings with Chicago earlier this season at Yankee Stadium, with both of victories coming via shutout. The Yankees haven't shut out the same opponent three straight times in a single season since blanking the Angels three consecutive times in 1972.
- Masahiro Tanaka recorded his first complete game as a major leaguer in his last outing, going nine innings and blanking the Mets in the victory. Tanaka, who went 8.0 innings and allowed zero runs in his first career start vs. the Cubs on April 16, is 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his first four MLB road starts.
- Jason Hammel lasted just 5.1 innings and allowed five runs (all earned) in his last outing vs. the Cardinals, and is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his last three outings overall (4-1, 2.08 ERA in first five starts of 2014). Hammel is 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA vs. the Yankees since 2012 (last seven starts).
- Derek Jeter is set to participate in just his second career series at Wrigley Field tonight. The Yanks' captain last played a game at Wrigley in 2003, and is just 2-for-11 with seven strikeouts in his previous three contests there.
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- Cards win in 13, deal Brewers major blow
- M's beat Angels, 1 back for wild card
- Big break in 9th helps Bucs sweep BoSox
By TOM CASTRO
(AP) -- The New York Yankees won't be facing the Chicago Cubs again in the regular season after Wednesday, but it's possible Jeff Samardzija could be seeing more of them in a couple of months.
Samardzija will take the mound as the major leagues' ERA leader when he tries again for his first win of the season in a home matchup with the Yankees.
New York (23-21) didn't get its week in the Windy City off to a good start, losing 6-1 on Tuesday as Masahiro Tanaka suffered his first loss in the majors. The Yankees will follow up this two-game series with four games against the White Sox starting Thursday.
The last-place Cubs (16-27) scored four runs in six innings off Tanaka to snap his regular-season unbeaten streak at 42 starts, including Japan League play. Luis Valbuena had three hits with two doubles and scored two runs, Mike Olt drove in three and Jason Hammel pitched into the sixth to give Chicago a season high-tying third straight victory.
"We're looking at playing our opponents, and when we step between the lines, there are big names out there," manager Rick Renteria told the team's official website. "Guys come up and they're in awe - but I want these guys to see that's a shortstop, that's a second baseman, that's a first baseman, that's a third baseman (on the Yankees). We know what they can do, what they can't do. We have to play our best game against their best game, and see where it falls."
Samardzija (0-4, 1.62 ERA) will try to earn his first victory in 16 games, dating to Aug. 24. The right-hander will take the mound with the best ERA in baseball after the previous leader, Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto, was roughed up by Washington on Tuesday and saw his ERA rise from 1.25 to 1.86.
Samardzija's latest attempt at an elusive win came Friday when he pitched five innings and allowed four runs - two earned - with six strikeouts and three walks in a 4-3 loss to Milwaukee. He had allowed no earned runs in 15 innings over his previous two outings.
Samardzija is receiving 2.21 runs of support per game, among the lowest marks in the majors.
"Obviously I want to win," Samardzija said. "Being a starting pitcher, you have a big say as to how the game turns out. Obviously if my record isn't what I want it to be I need to do a better job."
Teams that are seeking pitching, however, are plenty impressed with the job Samardzija has done this year, and he's expected to be one of the most sought-after arms if Chicago makes him available when the trade market heats up. New York is one of those clubs seeking help for its rotation, which has been battered by injury.
The state of the Yankees' starting pitching will be apparent Wednesday with fill-in Chase Whitley taking the mound for his second career start. The right-hander turned in a decent effort against the Mets on Thursday, going 4 2-3 innings and allowing two hits and two walks in a 1-0 win.
"Everyone has to contribute. If we're going to get where we want to be, everyone has to contribute," manager Joe Girardi told the team's website. "You can't expect one guy (Tanaka) to take you to that spot."
Samardzija has faced the Yankees once, a relief appearance at Wrigley Field on June 18, 2011, in which he went 1 1-3 innings and allowed one run, two hits and three walks.
It's uncertain if the retiring Derek Jeter, honored by the Cubs before Tuesday's contest, will be in the lineup for this day game following a night game.
Updated May 21, 2014