(Sports Network) - Injuries to several key players hasn't seemed to slow down the New York Yankees, who'll be shooting for a seventh victory in eight outings when they resume a three-game interleague set with the slumping Cincinnati Reds tonight at Great American Ball Park.
The Yankees have had to place four valued contributors on the disabled list over the past five weeks, a group that includes shortstop and team captain Derek Jeter, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon and the club's top two setup relievers in the bullpen, Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain. The roster shuffling hasn't prevented New York from attaining success on the field, however, as the Bronx Bombers have won nine of their last 11 games following a 5-3 verdict over the Reds in last night's opener of this series.
Johnny Cueto is tentatively slated to take the mound for this evening's test, and should give New York's potent offense a challenge if he's healthy and able to maintain his recent form. Cueto was originally scheduled to pitch Monday, but was pushed back a day with a stiff neck.
In eight starts since returning from a season-opening stretch on the disabled list in early May, Cueto has amassed a stellar 1.68 earned run average and permitted two runs or fewer in all but two of those appearances.
The native Dominican has been especially good as of late. Cueto racked up a season-best eight strikeouts and yielded just four hits over seven shutout innings to defeat San Francisco on June 9, then followed up by limiting the Dodgers to one unearned run and five hits through seven frames in a 3-2 Reds' victory last Tuesday. He's thrown seven innings or more in four consecutive starts and permitted a total of only four runs during that span.
Cueto has opposed the Yankees one time previously, which took place in New York during his rookie campaign of 2008. The 25-year-old held the Bronx Bombers to just one run while fanning seven over five strong innings in that contest, but still wound up receiving a tough-luck loss in a 4-1 Reds' setback.
He'll be attempting to reverse Cincinnati's interleague fortunes, as the defending NL Central champs are just 1-6 against the AL so far this year and have dropped three of their last four overall.
The Reds will take their swings tonight against Brian Gordon, who'll be making a second start since being inserted into New York's patchwork rotation.
Gordon signed with the Yankees last week after exercising an opt-out clause with Philadelphia, where he had been pitching extremely well for the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley. The 32-year-old has had a long and difficult road to the big leagues, having spent virtually all of his 15 professional seasons in the minors with five different organizations and converting to pitching in 2007 after a failed try as an outfielder.
The journeyman right-hander, who pitched three times in relief for Texas in 2008, had a decent performance in his long-awaited first major-league start this past Wednesday, working 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers and yielding two runs on seven hits in a no-decision.
Prior to joining the Yankees, Gordon compiled a 5-0 record and an International League-best 1.14 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) for Lehigh Valley.