It was the 15th time since 2000 that New York has faced a pitcher making his MLB debut, and third time this season (Kansas City's Will Smith and Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen). The Yankees won both games this year.
"The challenges are you have no idea what he's gonna try to do to you," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of facing a rookie for the first time. "You know he throws a certain velocity, but does it get on you quicker? Does his curveball? What's the break? What's his changeup?"
The Yankees went 6-8 in the previous 14 such contests, winning their last three after dropping six in a row. Entering Friday, only three left-handed starters have won their Major League debut against the Yankees over the last 30 years: Toronto's Gustavo Chacin (Sept. 20, 2004, at Yankee Stadium); Boston's Vaughn Eshelman (May 2, 1995, at Yankee Stadium) and Seattle's Matt Young (April 6, 1983, at the Kingdome).
"The thing you try to do is put some pressure on him early, because, for any player that's ever been through it the first time, there's some butterflies," Girardi said.