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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Series Preview

Can the Yankees pick up a series win as they head down to the Trop?

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Every time it seems like the Yankees have what seems like the “worst game of the season” they figure out some way to top it later on. The most recent time we saw them play, Domingo Germán took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. They somehow lost that game. It was bad.

Good news is, they can try and hop back on the bike tonight. They only have to try and do it against a team that’s had their number the last two seasons.

Tonight, they’ll kick off a three-game series in Florida against the Rays. While it hasn’t been quite as brutal as last season, the Yankees come into this game with a 5-8 record against the Rays, having been outscored 64-37. Tampa Bay comes into this series on a solid run, going 7-3 since the second half began. They also made a notable acquisition recently, trading for Nelson Cruz, who has hit two home runs in three games since coming over from the Twins.

Before things kick off tonight, let’s take a look at the matchups we’ll see over the next three days.

Tuesday: Jordan Montgomery vs. Shane McClanahan (7:10 pm ET)

Montgomery’s recent run of being solid continued last time out, as he threw 5.2 scoreless innings in Boston. Also, for the first time since June 15th, the offense gave him some run support while he was in the game. As for the Rays, Montgomery had two eh outing against them back towards the start of the season, but in two matchups since then, he’s allowed four runs (only two earned) in 12.1 innings.

McClanahan got a rare postseason MLB debut when he faced the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS last year. In his two appearances in that series and one against the Yankees this year, he’s been far from great. The four runs the Yankees got him for back on June 2nd is tied for the most he’s allowed in a game this season, and that came in only 3.1 innings.

Wednesday: Nestor Cortes vs. Michael Wacha (7:10 pm ET)

After missing two weeks while on the COVID IL, Cortes returned over the weekend in Boston and had probably his worst outing of the season. His ERA rose nearly a full run after giving up three runs in two innings. Prior to that, he had allowed just one run in his previous 16.1 innings before hitting the IL.

So far this year, Wacha’s dealt with some injuries, been used out of the bullpen some, and just hasn’t been that great in general. Across his three starts in July, he’s allowed five home runs in 15 innings, as hitters have slugged .569 off him.

Thursday: Gerrit Cole vs. Luis Patiño (1:10 pm ET)

Of the 38 earned runs Cole is responsible for this season, Boston has now scored nine of them. While a lot was made of his struggles as the sticky stuff crackdown began, Cole had been excellent in his two starts leading into the All-Star break, only to come out and be merely fine against the Red Sox on Friday. He’s had mixed results against the Rays this year, and was hit around for five runs in five innings last time he faced them.

Patiño had a high prospect pedigree, but hasn’t shown that in the majors yet. He was solid against the Yankees back in May, but has an ERA over eight since then. That span only actually includes three games, as he’s dealt with injuries and was sent down in early July. He returned last Thursday, but wasn’t exactly great against Cleveland.