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New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Jameson Taillon vs. Vince Velasquez

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The Yankees face some old friends as they head down to Philly for the first of a two-game set.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After a day off to cleanse the stench of their series finale loss to the Twins, the Yankees enter Philadelphia for the first of a two-game blitz against the Phillies. There are various ways to evaluate the last few days. On the one hand, it’s annoying the Yankees were once again unable to close out a series with a sweep, and concerning how ineffective Aroldis Chapman looked in the blown save.

On the other, the Yankees offense has scored five or more runs over the last four games and could be turning the page on the second collective offensive slump of the season. I prefer the latter, and am excited to see how things shake out this afternoon.

Jameson Taillon gets the ball for his 12th start of the season. He has looked every bit the reclamation project the Yankees traded for over the winter, sitting in the bottom-third of the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate while averaging fewer than five innings per start. That said, it has been enough to maintain a permanent spot in the rotation. He is 1-4 with a 5.09 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 58 strikeouts in 53 innings.

He will face Vince Velasquez, who appears in his 13th game of the year and his ninth start. Velasquez has gotten hit every bit as hard as Taillon, but still has swing-and-miss stuff, posting the highest whiff rate of his career so far (28 percent) while striking out 27.5 percent of batters faced. He is 2-1 with a 4.33 ERA, 5.37 FIP, and 52 strikeouts in 43.2 innings.

The Yankees resume interleague play at the worst possible moment, as it means losing Giancarlo Stanton’s scorching bat from the lineup for the next two games since the team refuses to use him in the outfield. Luckily, the breakout stars from 2018 are getting hot at just the right time. Gleyber Torres owns a 148 wRC+ over his last twelve games while Miguel Andújar sits at a 143 wRC+ over his last 20.

Every position player in the Phillies lineup except for Alec Bohm is hitting better than league average, so the Yankees pitching staff will have a tall task keeping them in check. Didi Gregorius is still working his way back from a hip impingement, but the Yankees face another old friend at short in Ronald Torreyes.

How to watch

Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA

First pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

TV broadcast: WPIX, NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280

Online stream: MLB.tv

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