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Yankees at Indians: Series Preview

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Gray and Garcia make their Yankee debuts as the team faces the reigning AL champions for the first time this year.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After wrapping up a nine-game homestand yesterday evening, the Yankees are on the road. They will face the Cleveland Indians for the first time this year as they open a four-game series tonight.

This is a pretty big series for a few reasons. Both the Indians and Yankees are in the hunt for their respective division titles, but both have struggled this week. The Indians lost a couple of heartbreakers against the Red Sox and lost Josh Tomlin and Andrew Miller to the Disabled List. The Yankees have staved off injury, but their offense stumbled against the Tigers, losing two of three against one of the AL’s worst teams.

Here are your matchups:

Game One: Sonny Gray vs. Corey Kluber

Sonny Gray’s debut is definitely a big headline for this game, and the matchup will be a big thing to watch as well. A strained lat muscle in spring training kept him off the mound until May, but it looks like Gray has put the injury behind him. In four July starts, Gray pitched 24 1/3 innings to a 1.48 ERA. Gray only surrendered seven walks and one home run in those four starts.

Corey Kluber takes the mound for the Indians against the newest Yankee. Kluber was an All-Star this year and has been one of the league’s best starters since 2014 when he won his first Cy Young award. In some regard, Kluber has been better this year than he was in 2014. His WHIP and strikeout numbers are significantly better, and he’s currently 4th in the league in fWAR.

Game one will be broadcast on YES. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM EST.

Game Two: Jaime Garcia vs. Trevor Bauer

Jaime Garcia will also makes his Yankee-debut during this series. The Yankees are Garcia’s fourth team in a calendar year. After finishing last season with the Cardinals, Garcia signed with the Braves this past offseason, got traded to Minnesota in July, made one start, then got traded to the Yankees. The Yankees haven’t been clear on how they’ll use Garcia, and they have six starters for five spots right now. This start isn’t an easy first test.

Trevor Bauer gets the ball for Cleveland in the second game of the series. Coming off his best performance of the season, and eight-inning, one-run outing against the Angels, Bauer will be hoping he can repeat those numbers instead of the results that have led him to a 5.25 ERA in 106.1 innings this season. The Yankees will be hoping his outing is more like the one he had against the Athletics on July 16th when he lasted just two outs while surrendering four runs.

Game two will be broadcast on YES and MLB Network. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM EST.

Game Three: Jordan Montgomery vs. Danny Salazar

Montgomery could very well be fighting for his life in this start. After a great month of June, July has been dreadful. In six starts last month, Montgomery’s ERA was just a shade under six, and his strikeouts were down from earlier in the year. The addition of Jaime Garcia threatens Montgomery’s major league existence. This start might be the most important one he’s made this season.

Danny Salazar gets the ball for the Indians in the third game of the series. Salazar was an All-Star in 2016 but hasn’t been able to repeat the performance this season. His 102 ERA+ indicates Salazar has been slightly above league average this season. The Indians’ righty has seen an increase in strikeouts this year but also owns one of the league’s worst HR/FB ratios.

Game three will be broadcast on YES and MLB Network. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM EST.

Game Four: Luis Severino vs. Mike Clevinger

Luis Severino gets the game four start on Sunday. Severino turned in a pretty solid performance against Detroit earlier this week, despite a 30-pitch first inning. The 23-year-old dropped his season ERA to 2.98, and he increasingly looks like the ace of this Yankee staff. Severino could very easily face this lineup in the playoffs, so this game is going to be a big test for the righty.

Mike Clevinger gets the start in the series finale for Cleveland. Clevinger is coming off two pretty brutal starts. On July 25th, he couldn’t get out of the fifth inning against the Angels he gave up six runs, five earned, on nine hits in the loss. Things got worse for Clevinger on July 31st. The Red Sox tagged him for another five runs in just three innings. Splits show that Clevinger a much better pitcher on the road, so this game presents a great opportunity for the Yankees.

Game four will be broadcast on YES. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM EST.

This is the first time the Yankees and Indians face off this year. The Indians come to New York at the end of the month for a three-game series.