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New York Yankees vs. Cleveland: Gerrit Cole vs. Eli Morgan

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The Yankees look to put yesterday’s debacle behind them with a win in today’s weekend series finale.

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

The Yankees will take the field this afternoon in the Bronx looking to take the third game of the finale set from Cleveland. The Yankees looked great in the series opener Friday night as they turned in an impressive all-around team performance, then they followed that with an absolute stinker yesterday afternoon. We’re all at the point in the season where optics no longer matter, only results do, and the Yankees need a win today against the sub-.500 team from Cleveland (a sub-.500 team that’ll be sending a pitcher to the mound with a 6.03 ERA, no less).

No disrespect meant to Eli Morgan, the rookie who the Yankees will be facing today, but the 25-year-old’s 2021 season has been a learning experience for him. In 71.1 innings over 15 starts, Morgan has posted a 74 ERA+ with a 5.33 FIP and 17 home runs allowed over those 71.1 innings. It hasn’t been a case of the Baseball Gods of randomness lining up against him either, as his advanced metrics show he’s given up hard-hit balls at a pretty consistent rate. He throws his four-seam fastball close to half the time, supplementing it predominantly with a slider and a changeup. All three pitches have shown a propensity for staying up in the zone, explaining the hard contact and high home run rate.

As opposed to Cleveland, the Yankees will be sending their best to the mound today. Gerrit Cole, the likely frontrunner to win the AL Cy Young Award, has been on a tear of late despite missing time to both COVID and hamstring issues. Since turning in a clunker against Tampa Bay on July 29th, Cole has allowed more than one earned run in a start only once in his last six starts – and he merely allowed two in that one. In those six starts, he’s struck out 49 against only nine walks, while posting an average Game Score of 64.

Cole will be facing a Cleveland offense that as we’ve seen this weekend, can run hot and cold – but cold more often than hot if we’re being honest, yesterday’s game aside. In their last 10 games, Cleveland has scored more than three runs only three times but has posted 11 or more runs in two of their last three games. Not that we can take too much (if anything) from small sample sizes, but of interesting note, Cleveland’s two scary hitters – José Ramírez and Franmil Reyes – have had very little success against Cole. In a combined 27 plate appearances, the Cleveland sluggers have only reached base a combined five times against the Yankees ace. Here’s hoping that trend continues this afternoon…

Today’s Yankees’ lineup features Anthony Rizzo back at first base after a day off, and Kyle Higashioka behind the plate. Of minor note is that Estevan Florial was recalled to take Luis Gil’s roster spot and will be available off the bench. Here’s hoping the pinstriped bombers can do some bombing!

How to watch:

Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

First pitch: 1:05 pm EDT

TV broadcast: YES, Bally Sports Great Lakes

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280

Online stream: MLB.tv

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