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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Nestor Cortes Jr. vs. Michael Wacha

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The Yankees look to lock down a series win at the Trop

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees won an absolute nail-biter last night, topping the Rays 4-3 to take the series opener down in Tampa. They enter play 2.5 games back of Oakland for the second wild card spot, giving every one of these games extra weight, and they can win this series against the Rays with a victory tonight.

Nestor Cortes Jr. is the Yankees’ starter. He’s certainly not the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s got to be among the most fun to watch. He nominally throws five pitches per Statcast, although his slider will also look cutterish from time to time. Ironically, despite his pedestrian velocity, his four-seam fastball has been among the best in the game, his -6 run value on that pitch putting him in the top 10 percent in baseball. He’s been on a great, surprising run for the Yankees and if he keeps that up tonight, the team has a good chance to win.

Michael Wacha counters for the Rays, making his fourth appearance against New York this year. Despite his 5.16 ERA on the season, the Yankees have been something of a tonic for Wacha, who’s managed a 3.09 ERA and .548 OPS against in 11.2 innings against the club.

Ten minutes before this post went up, the Yankees updated their lineup, scratching right fielder Aaron Judge. He wasn’t on the field in pregame and also missed batting practice. (No, it’s not a trade.) The fun never ends with this team!

How to watch:

Location: Tropicana Field — St. Petersburg, FL

First pitch: 7:10 pm, EDT

TV Broadcast: YES, ESPN, Bally Sports Sun

Radio Broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280

Online Stream: MLB.tv

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