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New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays: Series Preview

The Yankees head to the league’s most visually pleasing park for a weekend series. No sarcasm here...

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Yankees continue their road swing this weekend when they travel down south to take on the Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay just had a day off after taking two straight from the Indians in Cleveland. The Rays are 21-22 overall, and 12-10 at home so far this season.

The Yankees rebounded from their tough weekend against Houston by taking two of three from the Royals. They also kept their shutout-less season alive when they pushed across a run in the ninth inning last night.

Here are your pitching matchups for the AL East showdown:

Game 1: Luis Severino vs. Erasmo Ramirez

It’s been a roller coaster affair for Severino in his last few outings. After tossing seven shutout innings at Fenway, he was smacked around for five runs in 5.2 innings against Toronto at Yankee Stadium. He followed that with a great seven inning performance against the Cubs, only to suffer his worst outing of the season against the Astros on Saturday. So judging by that pattern, we’re in for a gem from Sevy.

The Rays will counter with the righty Ramirez, who comes in with a respectable 2.92 ERA and a WHIP of 0.81. Starlin Castro has been swinging a red-hot bat and has three hits in five career at-bats against Ramirez. Hopefully Chase Headley can find some success against the righty; he has just two hits in 20 career at-bats against Ramirez.

Game 2: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Matt Andriese

All eyes will be on the Yankees ace to see how he responds after an absolutely painful start against the Astros on Derek Jeter Night. Tanaka was bombed for eight runs in less than two innings of work. Hopefully he can turn it around and rediscover his splitter. Evan Longoria is normally an elite Yankee killer, but comes into the series with just four hits in 24 at-bats against Tanaka.

Meanwhile, Andriese enters the series with a solid 3.18 ERA, so Tanaka will need to be in much better form than on Sunday. Aaron Hicks has been off to a great start this season, and his sample size against Andriese is small, but it’s worth noting he has two home runs and 4 RBI in just five at-bats against the righty.

Game 3: CC Sabathia vs. Chris Archer

Sabathia is coming off a strong start in Kansas City after a brutal stretch of four starts in which he looked like he lost his way. The velocity has been consistent, but the southpaw struggled with hitting his spots and was consistently paying the price. It is worth noting that the Royals are the worst offensive team in baseball right now, but sometimes a starter needs a weaker opponent to get back into a groove.

The Rays have their ace set to start the series finale, although Archer has faced a similar trend as Severino so far this season. There have been starts where he looks in top form, and others when he’s knocked around. In his last start, he surrendered six runs over five innings to the Indians. The Yankees wouldn’t mind to see another clunker like that, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Do the Yankees take another series win on the road this weekend? Who will make the biggest impact for the Bombers in Tampa? Let us know in the comment section below.