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New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays: Gerrit Cole vs. Shane McClanahan

It’s a helluva pitching matchup tonight at the Trop.

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

After a rare loss on Sunday afternoon to the Blue Jays that snapped their nine-game winning streak, the Yankees will look to start another one tonight in Tampa Bay.

The Yankees and Rays squared off just last week at Yankee Stadium, with New York sweeping the series in a dramatic finish capped by Anthony Rizzo’s walk-off home run. This emphatic statement knocked Kevin Cash’s club back to a double-digit deficit in the AL East standings. Now, the two teams will go head-to-head just a few days later — this time, on the Rays’ home turf at Tropicana Field. This three-game set will start off with a doozy: Gerrit Cole vs. Shane McClanahan.

Cole turned in a nice bounce-back start against the Rays on June 14th after the Twins played Home Run Derby on him in his previous outing. Tampa made him sweat a little, but he still worked six shutout innings, striking out seven while allowing one walk and six hits. That lowered his season ERA, FIP, and WHIP to 3.33, 3.39, and 1.068, respectively. The funny thing is that while there have certainly been flashes and great starts here and there, it still doesn’t feel like Cole has truly hit his groove.

McClanahan enters tonight having posted one of the better first halves of any pitcher in baseball. He paces the AL with a 1.84 ERA, 0.855 WHIP, and 105 strikeouts — a mark that also leads all of baseball. He also has a 193 ERA+, 2.73 FIP, and 2.2 rWAR. In short, McClanahan difficult to hit, doesn’t walk many batters, and strikes out a ton. However, the Yankees manage to tag an L on him last time out, as while they recorded just three hits in six innings against the Rays’ ace, they made them count. Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka (lol) took him deep to provide all the offense that the Yankees needed behind Nestor Cortes and the bullpen; New York won, 4-3.

The Yankees are keeping Isiah Kiner-Falefa out of the lineup and off the Trop turf tonight due to his hamstring soreness, so Marwin Gonzalez will start at shortstop. The rest of the lineup is fairly standard, with Jose Trevino behind the plate and Aaron Hicks getting the nod in left ahead of Joey Gallo.

How to watch

Location: Tropicana Field — St. Petersburg, FL

First pitch: 7:10 pm ET

TV broadcast: YES, Bally Sports Sun

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1380

Online stream: MLB.tv

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