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New York Yankees vs. San Diego Padres: James Paxton vs. Chris Paddack

The Big Maple makes his much-needed return as the Yankees vie for their eighth straight series win.

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MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been quite a while since any Padres game — much less a day game on a Wednesday in May — has been must-see TV. But thanks to a combination of veteran stars and emerging top prospects, the Friars still find themselves in the playoff hunt, while the Yankees are sitting in first place in the AL East. If this afternoon’s starters pitch up to potential, it’ll be a good day to duck out of work early and tune in.

San Diego will send out Chris Paddack, the rookie hurler who has already vaulted himself into the NL Cy Young conversation with a microscopic 1.93 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Paddack boasts a mid-90s fastball, a lethal changeup, and a biting curve, all of which he delivers with pinpoint control. In fact, he’s walked multiple batters just once in nine starts, and after missing his scheduled start on Sunday due to a stiff neck, he returns just in time for a rare interleague showdown in the Bronx.

The Yankees hope to get a desperately needed shot in the arm from their starter, James Paxton, who is himself returning from a nearly four-week long stint on the injured list. Before his bout of knee inflammation, Paxton had allowed just three earned runs over his last four starts, pitching to a 1.19 ERA over that span while posting a 13.1 K/9 rate. With rotation options CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Jordan Montgomery all on the shelf, the health of Paxton’s knee has become even more critical. The Yankees need the talented, but oft-injured, Canadian to pitch like the ace he can be if they want to take this rubber game.

Here are the lineups:

Today’s game can be seen on YES and Fubo TV, or heard on WFAN and WADO. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.