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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Charlie Morton vs. Masahiro Tanaka

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Playoff Tanaka Time for game three of the ALDS

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American League Wild Card Game 2: New York Yankees v. Cleveland Indians Photo by Joe Sargent/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Joe Torre always said that Game Three was the most important of a postseason series. That certainly rings true tonight, as the Yankees can push the Rays to the brink of elimination and have a postseason stud on the mound to do it. Now if we just let him pitch more than one inning...

Masahiro Tanaka, before last Wednesday, was one of the best postseason pitchers of all time, and even after a bad, rain-affected start in Cleveland, still boasts a 2.70 ERA in October. He’s faced the Rays three times in 2020, with two good starts and one bad, striking out 14 against just a single walk in 15 innings.

Charlie Morton goes against the Yankees for Tampa, and between his time with the Rays and in Houston, has given New York fits. He boasts a 3.83 ERA while striking out almost 13 men per nine, with a rising fastball and hammer curve. The trick to beating him is to focus on the top half of the zone, which is something the Yankee offense has been able to do so far in the playoffs. Morton’s a tough customer, but he’s beatable if the team approaches him the same way they did Shane Bieber or Blake Snell.

Here’s the Yankees’ lineup:

And the Rays’:

First pitch is an hour earlier today, 7:10pm EDT on TBS. You can listen to the game on WFAN or stream on FuboTV.