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Yankees vs. Reds: Series preview

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Can the Yankees win two series in a row?

MLB: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are back in action tonight, two days removed from winning their first series since early-June. The series win against the Mariners left the Yankees 2.5 games behind the Red Sox for first place in the division and a game up in the American League Wild Card standings. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Bombers will host the Cincinnati Reds for a two-game set.

The NL Central is one of the closest divisions in baseball, but the Reds are securely out of it. They currently sit in last place and have the third-worst record in the National League. This isn’t really a surprise, either. The Reds have been one of the worst teams in baseball for the last few years, but with their top-10 farm system, that could change quickly.

The Yankees and Reds previously split a two-game series in early-May. A 10-run, 13-hit offensive explosion got the Yankees a win in game one, but a five-run inning from C.C. Sabathia put game two out of reach. Hopefully, the Yankees can capitalize on one of the worst teams in baseball and take two from the Reds.

Here are your matchups:

Game One: Jordan Montgomery vs. Luis Castillo

Game one will be a battle of rookie arms. Montgomery is coming off a pretty brutal start in Minnesota. He allowed six earned runs in as many innings and racked up just three strikeouts in the loss. Montgomery has been plagued by the long ball over his previous eight starts. In the last 45 innings, he’s given up 10 home runs, a 2 HR/9 rate.

Luis Castillo — no, not that Luis Castillo — starts opposite Montgomery in game one. Castillo throws three pitches: fastball, slider, and changeup. His fastball consistently sits in the upper-90’s, and surprisingly, his changeup is a more-refined than his slider. He throws the change nearly 23% of the time and the slider just 13.2% of the time.

Game one will be broadcast on WPIX. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM EST.

Game Two: Luis Severino vs. Homer Bailey

Severino is coming off a brilliant start in Seattle where he pitched seven scoreless innings for the win. The young right-hander has been great all season, but he’s been particularly good in his last three starts. His dud against against the Astros was just a blip.

The Reds will send out Bailey for game two of the series. The right-hander currently sports an 8.56 ERA in 27.1 innings. Clearly, the 31-year-old hasn’t been sharp this year. Injuries have certainly played a role in that. Bailey had Tommy John surgery back in 2015 and had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow last offseason.

As if all the time on the DL wasn’t bad enough for the Reds, Bailey owns one of the worst contracts in baseball. He signed a 6-year, $105 million dollar extension back in February 2014 but has only thrown 207.1 innings since then. Yeesh.

Game two will be a matinee in the Bronx. Out-of-market fans can watch the game on MLB Network as YES takes the local broadcast. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM EST.

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