Headed into a four-game series at Tropicana Field, I think we’d all have been happy with splitting two and two. Now, with the Yankees having won the first two games behind absolutely dominant pitching performances from Nestor Cortes and Jameson Taillon, I want three of four. I really want four of four, but it starts with game three, and it also starts with Gerrit Cole — perhaps the most dominant pitcher in the AL when on — getting the ball.
Cole comes into the start with a 3.31 ERA and 3.00 FIP, but has seriously elevated his game over the last six starts, with a 28 percent K-BB% that would represent the best mark of his Yankee tenure if it held up over a full season. He’ll need to avoid one bad inning like what happened against Baltimore earlier this week, but if he repeats his 11:0 K:BB ratio, the Yankees would be well on their way to that third win this series.
Meanwhile, the Rays will send out a starter who gave Yankee fans one of the best memories of 2021, as Corey Kluber takes the mound. The 36 year-old has had a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde season, with a walk rate as excellent as anything in his prime seasons, but allowing home runs at a pace that would probably have made Cy Kluber green.
DJ LeMahieu returns to the top of the lineup after sitting the last four games. A cortisone shot in his wrist hopefully brought down the inflammation that kept him out, and the Yankees get a real leadoff hitter back.
How to watch:
Location: Tropicana Field — St. Petersburg, FL
First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. EDT
TV Broadcast: YES, Bally Sports Sun
Radio Broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280; WTMP, WDAE 620AM/95.3 FM
Online Stream: MLB.tv