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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Corey Kluber vs. Rich Hill

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The first road game of 2021 takes the Yanks out to the Trop.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The 2020 Yankees did not fare well against the Rays, either in the regular season or postseason. The 2021 Yankees get their first shot at the defending AL champs today, and both teams look vastly different rotation-wise. Both sides of today’s pitching matchup are new to the team that they’re repping these days, and they’re looking to build their arms up for the long haul after short debuts.

Corey Kluber gets the ball for the Yankees, coming off of a start where he pitched decently but still hadn’t ironed out his command. The 34-year-old allowed five hits and walked three batters in four plus innings, getting chased from the game after allowing a solo shot. It wasn’t pretty, but Kluber managed to get himself into and out of trouble multiple times. Now he’ll work on extending his pitch count, after throwing just 74 last week.

Rich Hill will be on the mound for the Rays, his 10th team across 17 seasons in the majors. Hill, now 41-years-old, is one of the replacements in Tampa Bay’s rotation after they didn’t re-sign Charlie Morton and traded Blake Snell to the Padres. Hill wasn’t able to avoid the Marlins’ bats in his season debut, allowing a single run in all four of the innings that he pitched. Hill was paired with Chris Archer as a tag-team starter-reliever package last time, but Hill should stand alone on the hill this time around.

The Yankees will be without Aaron Judge again for this game, as Aaron Boone wants to hold him out for one more day and re-evaluate him tomorrow. Whether that means he’ll be back or go on the IL then remains to be seen. Gio Urshela was originally in the lineup, but was scratched less than an hour before game time due to lingering side effects from his COVID vaccine; he’ll be replaced by Mike Ford from the taxi squad.

The Yankees are also getting some reinforcements with Justin Wilson returning from the IL. Wilson takes the slot on the roster vacated by Michael King, who was demoted after tossing six innings of relief, that the Yankees had left open in anticipation of the reliever’s availability.

How to watch

Location: Tropicana Field - St. Petersburg, FL

First pitch: 3:10 p.m. ET

TV broadcast: YES Network, Bally Sports Sun

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280

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