It’s a battle of opening day starters in this rubber game at the Trop, as Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 3.77 ERA) and the Yankees take on Blake Snell (3-3, 3.62 ERA) and the Rays. Snell, last year’s AL Cy Young, has been much more hittable so far this season, in part because he was recovering from a freak accident that caused him to break his toe. He rediscovered some of his 2018 magic his last time out, however, flirting with a perfect game against the talented D-Backs before allowing a sixth inning single. He would finish with nine strikeouts and just that single baserunner allowed.
Tanaka, for his part, has been shaky of late, though he did hold the Mariners to two runs in 6.1 innings in his previous outing. Often plagued by the long ball, he has surrendered at least one home run in each of his last six starts after he kept his first two opponents in the park. One key to watch will be Tanaka’s trademark splitter, which has not looked good in 2019. Although the righty has managed surprisingly solid results without his biggest weapon, he’s a different pitcher when he has biting movement on the split.
The Yankees offense will be without many of its own weapons, as only two of the nine starting position players in the Yankees’ fully healthy lineup will start this afternoon. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Didi Gregorius are, of course, on the injured list, while Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, and Brett Gardner will have the day off. It’s an interesting decision by Boone to rest so many key players in such a pivotal matchup against the first-place Rays — the day game after a night game was certainly a factor. In their absence, Gio Urshela will hit third for New York, a situation that no one on the planet could have predicted just a month ago. His stats do have the look of a three-hole hitter: he’s hitting .349 in 31 games.
Here are the lineups:
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT. You can watch on YES, stream on FuboTV or MLB.tv, and listen along with WFAN or WADO. Go Yankees!