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New York Yankees vs. Chicago Cubs: Series Preview

The Yankees open their 2022 interleague play with a three-game set against the Cubs.

Los Angeles Angels v New York Yankees - Game Two Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

They may have had their seven-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday, but a thrilling come-from-behind victory against the Twins in yesterday’s rubber match ensured the Yankees their third straight series. There’s no rest for the weary, as they fly back home just in time to welcome the Cubs to the Stadium for their first taste of interleague play. Let’s see who the Yankees will roll out across the three games to defend their home turf.

DraftKings series odds: Yankees win (-300); Cubs win (+225)

Friday: Luis Severino vs. Wade Miley, 7:05 P.M. EDT

Luis Severino gets the ball as he looks to build off his best start — eight scoreless innings of one-hit dominance over the Tigers — since his 2018 season. He induced 20 swings and misses and racked up 10 strikeouts, with the slider playing a vital role getting punch-outs in and out of the zone. In 10 starts, Severino is 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA (129 ERA+), 3.56 FIP, and 61 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched.

Wade Miley returns off the IL just in time to face the Yankees in the first game of the series The veteran lefty basically fell into the Cubs’ lap during the offseason after the Reds placed him on waivers in their quest to field their lowest payroll since 2018. He had been quite effective before going down with a shoulder strain, inducing the sixth-best groundball rate (58.3 percent) of any starter with at least 10 innings pitched. The Yankees have a troubling inability to score off soft-throwing lefties, so if ever there was a trap game in the series, it would be this one. In three starts, Miley has pitched to a 3.38 ERA, 3.20 FIP, and 10 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched.

Saturday: Jordan Montgomery vs. Matt Swarmer, 7:15 P.M. EDT

Jordan Montgomery is once again quietly having one of the more effective starts to a season from a run prevention standpoint, albeit with considerably depressed strikeout totals. He’s in the 92nd percentile or better in chase and walk rates and in the upper quarter of the league in hard hit and barrel rates. He’s also gone at least six innings in his last three starts and has allowed three or fewer runs in every outing. As he makes his 12th start, Montgomery sits at 1-1 with a 3.02 ERA (126 ERA+), 3.61 FIP, and 46 strikeouts in 59.2 innings pitched.

Opposite Montgomery is 28-year-old rookie Matt Swarmer, who has essentially forced his way into the Chicago rotation with a string of strong starts at Triple-A and in The Show. He was drafted in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and spent the first six years of his professional career in the minors. He owns the largest jump between ERA and FIP (+3.81) of any starter with at least 10 innings pitched, suggesting he’s been the beneficiary of some good luck and solid defense. Swarmer’s best pitch is a slider he throws half the time, which induces a 43.3 percent whiff rate. He also throws a fastball in the low-90s, and seldom-used changeup. In two big league starts, Swarmer owns a 1.50 ERA, 5.31 FIP, and 11 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.

Sunday: Jameson Taillon vs. TBD, 1:35 P.M. EDT

Jameson Taillon was the first Yankees starter to falter in this incredible run of deep outings, but even then four runs in four innings against the Twins is not the end of the world. He’s no stranger facing the Cubs dating back to his days with the Pirates — in nine career starts against the North Siders he’s pitched to a 3.72 ERA, 4.65 FIP, and 41:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 2.4 percent walk rate is the best mark among qualified starters this year, and he sits in the 93rd percentile in chase rate. As he makes his 12th start, Taillon sits at 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA (139 ERA+), 3.06 FIP, and 47 strikeouts in 62.2 innings.

The Cubs have yet to name a starter for the final game of the series. Marcus Stroman is the likeliest candidate after his Wednesday scheduled start was rained out. Since his debut with the Blue Jays in 2014, Stroman is tied for the fifth-most starts (18) against the Yankees, going 6-6 with a 4.29 ERA, 4.32 FIP, and a 74:36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 98.2 innings pitched. Normally one of the premier groundball artists in the game, Stroman sports by far a career-low 41.7 percent groundball rate this year. In nine starts, he is 2-5 with a 5.32 ERA (79 ERA+), 4.20 FIP, and 45 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele, and Keegan Thompson are also candidates to start Sunday’s contest.