The Yankees have an enormously important series with the Red Sox coming this weekend, but they first need to take care of business against the Indians in the Bronx. The team will be tasked with trying to narrow the gap between them and Boston in the AL East standings. The Indians have made their lead in the AL Central much more comfortable in recent weeks, and have been playing good baseball recently despite suffering a collection of injuries in the past week.
September is right around the corner, so the fight for playoff spots are heating up. Here are your pitching matchups for this very important three game set:
Game One: Luis Severino vs Corey Kluber
We’ve got a dandy of a pitchers’ duel on our hands for the season opener as a pair of aces square off in Severino and Kluber. Since Severino’s nightmare of a start against Boston, he has allowed just one earned run over 13 innings, highlighted by a brilliant start against the Tigers last week. He carries a 3.10 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 156 2⁄3 innings into a start where he will have to be at his best to keep the Yanks in the game, especially given who will be taking the mound for Cleveland. A promising stat to consider is the Indians’ .162 batting average against Severino in 74 career at-bats.
Kluber has been superb this season, most recently turning in 7 2⁄3 innings while allowing just two runs and striking out 12. That seems like another day at the office for Kluber at this point. He also has owned this Yankees roster throughout his career, holding them to a .467 OPS and a .165 batting average. Gary Sanchez is 2-for-6 with a home run in his short career against Kluber, so hopefully he can squeeze in another dinger or two before August comes to an end (unless he’s serving his suspension).
Game Two: Jaime Garcia vs Trevor Bauer
Maybe there will be some more offense in this one. Garcia allowed four runs (two earned) in four innings in his last start against the Tigers, which actually seemed acceptable given how hard the Tigers’ offense was hitting him. He lasted his usual four innings before turning it over to the bullpen, when things got really crazy. Anyway, Joe Girardi would love some kind of length from Garcia if possible to keep the bullpen fresh for the big series ahead with Boston, so this feels like an important start for the lefty.
Bauer enjoyed a terrific stretch starting at the end of July, but allowed seven hits and four runs over 5 1⁄3 innings in his last start. He enters the game with a 4.59 ERA and has allowed 20 home runs so far this season. The only two Yankees to take Bauer deep in their careers are Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier, who also both carry career batting averages over .300 against the righty.
Game Three: CC Sabathia vs Josh Tomlin
Hopefully Sabathia can receive some run support when he takes on his former team in the series finale. The lefty was superb against the Mariners on Friday, but the offense never showed up and wasted his seven innings of one-run ball. The Yankees would obviously love a repeat performance from Sabathia, but he will have to contain Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor. Both players have had plenty of success against him, as Lindor is 5-for-9 with a double while Santana is 10-for-19 with a double and a home run.
Tomlin will be making his first start since July 30th, with Danny Salazar on the DL. He threw four shutout innings in that last start and has a 5.38 ERA this season. Tomlin was having a solid month of July before he was injured, and after a rehab start on Friday night, he is ready to make his return. The Yankees are batting .224 against Tomlin, with the only home run coming off the bat of Starlin Castro, which happened to be his first career grand slam.