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New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Blake Snell

It’s a battle between two starters still getting stretched out at Tropicana Field tonight.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees open their first series against the team projected to give them the toughest fight in the American League East, the Tampa Bay Rays, looking to bounce back from losing two of their last three against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for his second start of the season tonight, as he continues to build up strength after missing most of summer camp due to a concussion. Over 51 pitches during his season debut against Boston last week, Tanaka gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits, striking out three and walking one in 2.2 innings of work. Look for him to be stretched out a bit longer tonight — probably somewhere in the range of 60-70 pitches — and see if the trends that Tom noticed, notably a new windup and an increased usage of his fastball, continue.

On the other side, Blake Snell starts for the Rays. The 2018 Cy Young Award winner has not quite gotten up to speed this season, combining for only 5 innings in his first two starts, including a three-inning outing against Baltimore last week in which he gave up three runs on four hits. It’s too early to make any definitive statements even in such a short season, but Snell was not his usual self in his first two starts. Over his career, the Yankees have gotten to Snell, who is 3-6 with a 4.41 ERA against them in 16 starts, although he has fared much better in Tropicana Field, where he is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 5 starts.

DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge return to the lineup and Mike Tauchman gets the start in left field for the Yankees. The struggling Gleyber Torres drops to the sixth spot in the order, while Gary Sanchez continues to bat eighth.

Here’s the lineup that they will be going up against:

First pitch tonight is scheduled for 6:40 PM EDT. The game can be caught on the YES Network and, for out of market fans, the MLB Network, and the first of which can be streamed on Fox Sports Go. For those listening along on the radio, you can find the game on either WFAN 660 or 101.9 FM, WADO 1280.

Tonight begins a 48 hour stretch in which we get to see four baseball games against possibly the team’s biggest threat this season. Let’s Go Yankees!