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New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves: Series Preview

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Can the Yankees continue their winning run as they head down to Atlanta?

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Yankees remained on fire over the last weekend, as they sorta swept the Twins at Yankee Stadium. Hurricane Henri postponed the finale of the expected four-game series, but before that, the Yankees took the previous three, extending their win streak to nine games.

After a successful week at home, the Yankees will now hit the road and head to Atlanta to play the NL East-leading Braves.

Atlanta has similarly been on fire, and is 16-3 since the start of August with a nine-game winning streak of their own. That full run has seen them go from below .500 to comfortably over, and from four games back in the NL East to five up. They’ve also done that all without Ronald Acuña Jr., who is out for the rest of the season.

The lack of the DH will also provide a tricky challenge for the Yankees. It means that there’s no real option to get both Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit in the lineup. Rizzo’s not as red hot as right after the Yankees acquired him, but he’s still a good bat and provides excellent defense. On the other hand, Voit has been completely on fire recently, and it would be hard to keep him out of the lineup when he’s doing that. It’s only two games, but it’ll be interesting on that front.

As these two red hot teams prepare for this week’s series, let’s take a look at the matchups we’ll see over the next couple days.

Monday: Jordan Montgomery vs. Huascar Ynoa (7:20 pm ET)

The Yankees could’ve turned to rookie sensation Luis Gil, who was going to start on Sunday against the Twins, but instead, they’ll skip making a roster move and give the ball to the man originally lined up to pitch on Monday: Montgomery, a South Carolina native pitching in Atlanta for the first time. He did face the Braves once last year, allowing three runs on four hits in six innings during a 9-6 victory on August 11, 2020.

The lefty has quietly been one of the American League’s top arms in 2021, posting a 2.8 fWAR that has only been topped by 10 other starters. This will be Montgomery’s second appearance since returning from the COVID-IL; last time out, the Red Sox got to him for three runs, five hits, and two walks in 4.2 innings of work. It wasn’t terrible, but he’ll absolutely be looking to replicate the reliability he showed in of prior months.

When he’s pitched, Ynoa has been effective this season; it’s just that he hasn’t pitched a ton. Back in May, he fractured his throwing hand after punching the dugout in frustration. That kept him out until last Tuesday, when he returned in a win over the Marlins. Ynoa didn’t seem to miss a beat, allowing just three hits and no runs in 5.1 innings.

Tuesday: Andrew Heaney vs. Charlie Morton (7:20 pm ET)

Heaney is coming off his best outing as a Yankee by a mile: seven superb innings of two-hit ball against Boston on Wednesday. However, we have yet to see any proof that he can truly build on that game, given his 5.51 ERA and 1.9 HR/9 on the season. Heaney has also weirdly never faced Atlanta in his career, despite breaking through and spending his first MLB season with the Marlins.

Morton has been good in his age=37 season, and has been especially sharp in the last couple months. Since the start of July, Morton has a 3.04 ERA in 53.1 innings across nine starts. The former Astro and Ray is a familiar foe, and he also faced the Yankees back when these two teams met in the Bronx in May, when he held them to one run on three hits in six innings. However, that was during maybe the Yankees’ most annoying stretch of this season.