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Yankees vs. Rays: Series Preview

The Yankees kick off their 2018 home slate against the Rays.

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

A day after they were originally supposed to, the Yankees will finally play their home opener on Tuesday when they play the Rays. Tampa Bay have used the extra day to shake up their rotation. It’s a quick two-game set, but let’s check out what the pitching matchups have in store for the first games in Yankee Stadium in 2018.

Game 1: Jordan Montgomery vs. Chris Archer

Yankees fifth starter Jordan Montgomery will be making his season debut in the series opener. Montgomery had a solid first major league season, which saw him place sixth in Rookie of the Year voting. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA and a 4.07 FIP. He had a dip in the second half of the season as he neared innings totals higher than what he had thrown in the minors. Whether or not that was the case and if he can build on that in his sophomore season remains to be seen.

The Rays were supposed to use the series opener as part of their no fifth starter, bullpen game experiment. Due to the postponement, they’ve skipped that and are going to the top of their rotation with Chris Archer.

Archer’s team got the win on Opening Day, but he left the game with them down 4-0. The Rays ace allowed four runs on six hits and a walk against the Red Sox on Thursday. Despite that, last season, Archer made his second career All-Star Game, throwing over 200 innings for the third straight year.

Game 2: Luis Severino vs. Blake Snell

The postponement also means that Blake Snell will be making a start in this series for the Rays, which he was not scheduled to before. Meanwhile, the Yankees are keeping to their regular schedule in starting Luis Severino.

The two had fairly similar starts to their season from a stat line perspective. Both threw 5.2 scoreless innings, facing exactly 21 batters each. Severino allowed two fewer hits and struck more batters out, but both had really good first games.

Snell is in his third major league season. While he hasn’t put up Cy Young Award-caliber numbers in either season, he’s been pretty solid for his career thus far. Considering his top-20 prospect pedigree, it will be interesting to see if his can keep up his Opening Day performance level and break through this season.

Someone who did put up Cy Young Award-caliber numbers last season was Severino, evidenced by his third place finish. Through one start, Severino looks capable of continuing that in 2018. Now, he gets his home debut for this year, against a team he did pretty well against in 2017.