Fresh off an invigorating sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees head south to Miami for a quick two-game set against the Marlins. These games are sandwiched around days off on Monday and Thursday, which comprise some of the Yankees’ final vacation days until the stretch run. After this series, they’ll play 14 games in 13 days.
The Marlins won their most recent series, beating the Nationals on the road, but suffered an embarrassing sweep at Atlanta before that. Things haven’t gone well for owner Derek Jeter or manager Don Mattingly, but this is year one of the rebuilding process for the Fins. Giancarlo Stanton will make his return to Miami, who is optimistic about returning to the field following a hamstring injury. Finally, this is the Yankees’ last interleague series of the year.
Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Pablo Lopez
Tanaka will get the ball for the Yankees in the first game. He’ll be looking for a better start after losing his last two outings. He’s 0-2 with a 5.17 ERA in August, but was 2-0 and had a 21.2 inning scoreless streak going in July. We’ll see which Tanaka shows up against the Marlins on Tuesday night, a team that surprisingly rocked him back in April.
The Marlins will turn to Lopez, 22, to open the series. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.79 ERA in eight starts as a rookie, but has pitched a quality start in three of his last five outings. He throws a mid-90s fastball and a heavy sinker to go with a curveball and changeup, and has a solid 3.17 K/BB rate. He does give up a lot of hard contact and home runs though, so the opportunity is there for the Yankees to touch him up.
Game 2: Lance Lynn vs. Trevor Richards
After allowing just one run in his first 16.1 innings as a Yankee, Lynn ran into some trouble on Friday against the Blue Jays, giving up five earned runs in four innings. Lynn showed improved command as the game went on, but still failed to earn a decision. He’ll look to get back on track against the Marlins, a team he’s gone 4-1 against over six career starts.
Richards, a young right-hander, will take the mound for the Marlins in game two. He’s 3-7 with a 4.28 ERA in his rookie season, but has pitched to a 2.89 figure in his last seven starts. He throws a low-90s fastball to pair with a curveball and changeup, but doesn’t have great strikeout or walk rates.
This is a quick series that the Yankees have to win. The team needs to improve its performance against subpar opponents. Two games against a last-place team with two rookie pitchers on the mound and an inexperienced lineup are two wins there for the taking. Some Miami players to watch out for include J.T. Realmuto, Starlin Castro and Brian Anderson, but the rest of the roster is largely unknown. Although Mattingly and Jeter are remain Yankees icons, the 2018 Bombers need to come into town and take care of business.