The Yankees are back at Tropicana Field today to start a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays. It has been a month since these two teams last faced each other. Nothing much went right for the Yankees during that last series in Florida, and the Rays ended up with the sweep. If this team is going to make up ground in the division race, they are going to have to start beating weaker teams. Now is their chance. Here’s a look at the probable pitching matchups and what to expect from the Rays this go around.
Game One: Luis Severino vs. Hunter Wood
The Yankees ace didn’t look too sharp during his last two outings before the All-Star break. In fact, the clunker against Cleveland was Severino’s worst performance of the season. Hopefully the rest did him some good. He tossed eight scoreless innings against the Rays when he faced them in mid-June.
Hunter Wood will start the game for Tampa Bay, though he will likely just be their opener. The right-hander has a 2.70 ERA (4.65 FIP) with 4.05 BB/9 through eight big league appearances. This will be his first time facing the Yankees.
Game Two: Masahiro Tanaka vs. TBDT vs.
CC Sabathia was originally scheduled to start this game, but the Yankees shuffled the rotation around after last night’s game was rained out. Instead, Masahiro Tanaka will start this game and Sabathia won’t start until Friday. Tanaka has struggled this year, posting a 4.54 ERA and giving up nearly two home runs every nine innings. Somehow, this will be the first time he has faced the Rays this year.
Blake Snell was expected to start this game, but the Rays just placed him on the disabled list with left shoulder fatigue. They will probably go with a bullpen day instead.
Game Three: Luis Cessa vs. Nathan Eovaldi
The Yankees really tried to make Domingo German work in the rotation, but they finally gave up after his rocky outing Friday night. Luis Cessa will take Jordan Montgomery’s empty spot for now. He has never pitched that well in the majors and doesn’t inspire much confidence.
However, he has been solid in Scranton since returning from an oblique injury. Cessa tossed six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts during his last start. He will take the mound opposite of potential trade target Nathan Eovaldi. Other than an awful appearance against the Twins a few weeks ago (2.2 IP, 8 ER), he has thrown the ball well over the last month. The Yankees managed five earned runs off him back in June.