The Yankees lost a heartbreaker last night by a score of 2-1 after former Yankee Ji-man Choi blasted a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th inning. Tonight, New York will be using the “opener” strategy, starting with Jonathan Loaisiga, then giving the ball to J.A. Happ.
Since returning from injury a little over a month ago, Loaisga has thrown 15.2 innings, and owns a 4.02 ERA over nine appearances. He has not seen the Rays this season, but in his last outing against the Toronto Blue Jays, he looked sharp, and even touched triple-digits on the radar gun. This game is vital for the righty as he looks to squeeze his way onto the playoff roster.
J.A. Happ has pitched against Tampa twice in 2019 and has fared well. In 10.1 innings, he’s given up just three runs and struck out eight. As a team, the Rays are hitting .250/.302/.300 off of the veteran lefty this year. This will be the first time Happ will trot out from the bullpen since 2015.
Looking at the offense, it seems as “playoff-like” as it could, with the exception of Kyle Higashioka behind the plate and Tyler Wade in left. Put Gary Sanchez at catcher and Giancarlo Stanton in left field, and this could be what the Yankees roll out with in October.
The Rays will have Charlie Morton on the hill in what will be their final regular season home game. It seems as though he loves pitching at Tropicana Field, sporting a 2.75 ERA in 16 starts there this year. In his three starts against the Yanks, he’s 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA all over 15.1 innings. Keep an eye out for the long ball and walks issued. He’s surrendered four home runs and issued nine base on balls in those three appearances. We’ll see if the Yankees continue to give him those problems tonight.
The game can be seen on YES, streamed on MLB.tv or fubo.tv, and heard on WFAN or WADO. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 EST