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New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays: Luis Severino vs. Shane McClanahan

The Yankees try to take three of four from the second-place Rays before a well-earned day off.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It seems like the Yankees have played every single day for the last 84 years, with the exception of a couple rainouts that then necessitated immediate doubleheaders to make up for games lost. Well, here we are. One more game — the fourth against Tampa — and New York can finally have a day off that they won’t immediately be punished for. On the line? Win to take three of four, and stretch the lead in the AL East to 6.5 games. Lose to split the series, and sit 4.5 games up on the Rays.

It’s Sevy Sunday for the Yankees, and that’s a good thing. In his first full season back from a multitude of injuries, the 28-year-old flamethrower has exceeded reasonable expectations to this point. In 41.2 innings, Severino has pitched to a 3.02 ERA, while keeping the ball in the park (1.08 HR/9) and avoiding the free pass (2.38 BB/9) at rates in line with his career numbers. Interestingly, his success has not been predicated on striking batters out. His strikeout rate this year of 24.4 percent is on pace to be the lowest since his sophomore slump season of 2016 (21.2 percent).

So far in 2022, Severino has been primarily a fastball/changeup pitcher, throwing the two pitches almost 75 percent of the time (47 percent and 26 percent, respectively). He still features his slider (15 percent of the time) and has incorporated the cut fastball that is all the rage among the Yankees pitching staff (11 percent).

Meanwhile, Shane McClanahan takes the mound for the Rays. The 25-year-old southpaw has been dominant for Tampa in the early going. In 52.1 innings, he has pitched to a 2.06 ERA. For McClanahan, the strikeout is his weapon. His 37.4 K rate sits in the 99th percentile among MLB pitchers, and that has led to xBA, wOBA, and xwOBA that all sit in the top 10 percent of hurlers. McClanahan faced the Yankees three times last season, going 0-2 against the Bronx Bombers. In 12.1 innings, he allowed 8 earned runs, walked 5 batters, and struck out 15.

The Yankee bats will have their work cut out for them today as they try to clinch a series win at the Trop — no easy task. Even though DJ LeMahieu made his return to the lineup yesterday, this is a Yankees batting order that, due to injury and underperformance, doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of the weak. Gleyber Torres, though, has been hitting the ball hard. The second baseman has rediscovered his power in 2022 with eight home runs and an xSLG that sits in the top 10 percent of MLB hitters. He has also had recent success against McClanahan, going 4-for-7 against the hurler last season.

This has been a superlative stretch of Yankee baseball. A win today would be the cherry on top, as it would allow the Yankees to breathe for a day sitting on a 6.5 game lead in the American League East. Let’s do this.

How to watch

Location: Tropicana Field — St. Petersburg, FL

First pitch: 1:40 pm ET

TV broadcast: YES – NYY / Bally Sports Sun – TBR / MLBN (out-of-market only)

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1380 / WDAE 620AM/95.3FM, WTMP

Online stream: MLB.tv

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