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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Series Preview

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The Bombers take on the Rays for one last series in the regular season.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Having already locked up their spot in the postseason, the Yankees now have the chance to spoil the Rays’ playoff dreams. The Rays, Athletics, and Indians are in a three-team competition for the two Wild Card spots, and it looks like the race will come down to the wire. Of course, the Bombers’ goal is to sweep this two-game series in the hopes that the Astros lose and they somehow gain home-field advantage. Here’s how they match up:

Tuesday - TBD vs. Yonny Chirinos

Rather than stay on rotation and send Brendan McKay out for tonight’s game, the Rays have opted to start Yonny Chirinos. Tampa Bay has used the right-hander in various different roles this season, and he has found success. He currently owns a 3.67 ERA (4.23 FIP) with 7.90 K/9, 1.97 BB/9, and 1.41 HR/9. During his last outing, he gave up a home run to Boston over one inning of work out of the bullpen.

As for the Yankees, we know for sure that they intend to use openers in both of these games.

It’s entirely likely that today’s game will just be pieced together by the various relievers listed in Bryan Hoch’s tweet. They are all battling for a spot on the postseason roster. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone puts in a stand-out performance over the next two days. At the very least, we’re likely in for a lengthy couple of games.

Wednesday - TBD vs. Charlie Morton

The veteran has put together the best season of his career, which is exactly what you’d expect of an almost 36-year-old. Morton has posted a career-high in strikeouts (11.02 K/9), and is one of the few pitchers who hasn’t been killed by home runs this year (0.72 HR/9). He’s had mixed results against the Yankees this season, and they knocked him around for five runs when they last faced him back in July.

The Bombers will use an opener in this game as well. According to Hoch, J.A. Happ will make an appearance out of the bullpen too. The southpaw has had a rough season, but has pitched better in the month of September, giving up just four earned runs through 16.1 innings of work. Time will tell how he adjusts to a relief role, considering he hasn’t pitched out of the ‘pen since 2015.