It hasn’t been that long since we last saw the Yankees take on the Rays. When Monday’s game kicks off, it will have been a little more than a week since these two teams last met. A bunch of stuff has happened since then, including the Rays nearly throwing a combined perfect game against the Orioles.
Just like last time, this will be a pretty important series in the AL East race. The Yankees’ lead in the division could be as low as two games or as high as ten games by Thursday. With that in mind, let’s check out the pitching matchup for the next four games.
Game One: James Paxton vs. Blake Snell
This will be Paxton’s first start since the 7th, which came against the Rays. He took the loss in that game, but that was mostly due to a lack of run support. Paxton struck out 11 in six innings. After the struggles that were his June, he’s gotten off to a much better July.
Snell’s 2019 against the Yankees has been a roller coaster. On May 12th, he was mowing people down early, only to cough up a lead thanks to hits from Austin Romine and Mike Tauchman. He then allowed just one run in six innings to them a week later. Then came the June 19th game where he didn’t make it out of the first inning. His most recent start against the Yankees was a good one, so if the up and down trend continues, this could be a good game for the home team.
Game Two: CC Sabathia vs. TBD
Speaking of Yankees who made their last appearance against the Rays: CC Sabathia. Four of Sabathia’s starts this season have been against Tampa Bay, and for the most part, he’s been good. In 24 innings, he’s allowed just 18 hits and seven runs against the Rays. In the two previous starts that came in the Bronx, those numbers are nine hits and two runs.
Any time you see the “TBD” on a Rays probable pitcher list, that means it’s almost definitely going to be an opener. The long man following the opener seems likely to be Jalen Beeks, who the Yankees haven’t faced yet in 2019.
Game Three: Domingo German vs. Yonny Chirinos
German’s return to the rotation from the IL has been nothing but smooth so far. He’s had a good season on the whole, but his performance against the Blue Jays was arguably his best yet. His 73 game score was his season high, as he allowed just three hits in six innings. The Rays will be the toughest task he’s faced since returning, however.
Chirinos has allowed three or fewer runs in all four of his outings against the Yankees this season, but only two have come in outright starts and not as part of an opener game.
Game Four: J.A. Happ vs. Charlie Morton
Not to jinx it, but Happ has now not allowed a home run in nearly a month. Yes, the Yankees have had a couple days off multiple times in that stretch. However, that’s still nothing to sneeze at for someone who is giving up nearly two home runs per nine innings.
Morton’s had an excellent season, which included striking out 10 Yankees in the final game before the All-Star break. That wasn’t the strongest lineup (pour one out for Breyvic Valera), but he should be a tough task once again.