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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Series Preview

The Rays are in the Bronx for the first time this season.

Tampa Bay Rays v Texas Rangers Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

After wrapping up a dominant series sweep of the Cubs on Sunday, the Yankees got a day off. However, tonight they’ll be back in action for a faceoff against an old foe. Tonight, the Rays are coming to town for a three-game set. Tampa Bay has infamously had the Yankees’ number in recent years, including knocking them out in the 2020 ALDS.

The 2022 version of the Yankees haven’t really been held in check by any team this season, having a winning record against every team they’ve played except one. The lone exception is the Rays, as the two teams split a four-game set at Tropicana Field a couple weeks ago. The Yankees won the first two games of the series, but dropped the second two, scoring just three runs. Starting tonight, they’ll try to remedy that .500 record against the Rays and add some more games to their cushion over the Rays in the AL East.

Before things get going tonight, let’s check out the pitching matchups we’ll see over the next couple days.

Tuesday: Gerrit Cole vs. Corey Kluber (7:05 PM ET)

In the series opener, Cole will look to rebound after struggling mightily last week against the Twins. He allowed five home runs and seven runs in 2.1 innings, raising his ERA by nearly a full run. Prior to that, he had been on a solid little roll, including a six inning, one run, 10 strikeout outing against the Rays at the Trop.

Kluber will be making his first return trip to Yankee Stadium after playing for the team last season. After a slow start to the season, Kluber’s been better of late, a stretch kicked off by a game against the Yankees. Including his start against the Yankees on May 28th, he’s allowed five runs in 17 innings over his last three starts, holding hitters to a .576 OPS.

Wednesday: Nestor Cortes vs. Shane McClanahan (7:05 PM ET)

Cortes is another Yankee pitcher looking to bounce back, as he’s coming off his worst start of the season. The Twins got him for four runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings last week. That ended a stretch where he had gone five innings in five consecutive starts, and had lasted into the seventh inning in all but one.

McClanahan has been excellent for the Rays this season, currently leading the league in strikeouts with 98. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a game since April, putting up a 1.19 ERA in his last seven starts. That includes an outing against the Yankees were he held them to one run on seven hits.

Thursday: Luis Severino vs. Drew Rasmussen (7:05 PM ET)

Back on May 29th against the Rays, Severino had a weird outing, allowing four runs on just two hits. However, both were home runs, as the Yankees lost 4-2. In his two starts since, Severino has been very good, allowing just one run in total. He struck out 10 batters in both games, the first two times he’s cracked double digit strikeouts in a game since August 2018.

This will be the first time the Yankees have faced Rasmussen as a starter, having previously only seen him in a bullpen outing last year. On July 28th, 2021, he threw 2.1 scoreless innings against the Yankees, striking out three. He’s been a full-time rotation member this year and has been mostly solid in this 12 starts. He’s struggled somewhat lately, putting up a 5.59 ERA and 6.19 FIP in his last four starts, which even includes seven shutout innings in one of those starts.