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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Yonny Chirinos

The AL East lead is on the line for this three-game series against the Rays.

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New York Mets v New York Yankees - Game One Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

As long as the rain holds off, the Yankees begin their 10-game homestand tonight with an important three-game series against the Rays. The Yankees currently hold a slim, half-game lead on Tampa for first in the AL East, so losing this series means losing the division lead.

Masahiro Tanaka has the ball for the Yankees tonight, and hopefully he can break the mini skid he’s been on lately. He has a 5.79 ERA in his last three starts. Fortunately, the Rays haven’t found much success against Tanaka this year. In two starts, he’s struck out 13 in 13 innings against them. Even better, the Rays only scored one run against him in that span.

Unfortunately for the Yankees’ bats, they might have an equally difficult task going up against Yonny Chirinos tonight. In two appearances against New York, Chirinos has, for the most part, kept the Yankees in check. In 8.2 innings of work, Chirinos has only surrendered two runs and has kept Yankees hitters to a not-so-great .721 OPS.

All eyes will be on the newest Yankee, Edwin Encarnacion, as he dons the pinstripes for the first time tonight. He’s hitting fifth as the designated hitter. It also looks like the Yankees are running out their best lineup in game one of this series.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM EST. There’s a chance of showers right at the beginning of the game, but according to the weather report, most of the rain should hold off until about 11 PM or so. Hopefully, this won’t be a marathon. Fans can watch the broadcast on YES, the MLB Network, or with FuboTV.