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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Series Preview

The Yankees head to the Trop for a crucial series against the Rays.

Tampa Bay Rays v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

After wrapping up their West Coast road trip with yet another frustrating loss, the Yankees are set to come back out east this weekend. However, they’re not coming back to the Bronx just yet, as instead a trip to Tropicana Field to play the Rays awaits. Thanks to the Yankees’ second-half play, it’s also become quite the important series — one that will see the recently-recalled Oswald Peraza make his MLB debut as well.

Coming into this weekend, the Yankees lead the AL East by just six games, down quite a bit from where their edge once stood. The team is second is the Tampa Bay team they’re set to face off against starting tonight. Should the Yankees get swept, the lead would down to a miniscule three games. On the other hand, a Yankees’ sweep would help restore a decent-sized lead over at least the Rays. Anything in between wouldn’t lead to quite as big a swing, but at this point of the season, every game counts.

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

Friday: Domingo Germán vs. Jeffrey Springs (7:10 PM ET)

Germán continued his pretty good start to his 2022 against the A’s last Saturday, only for the offense to contribute essentially nothing. He allowed just three hits and no walks in 7.2 scoreless innings, before the Yankees eventually lost in extras. Since Germán’s disastrous season debut against the Astros, he has a 1.82 ERA in 29.2 innings in five starts. However, the worst start in that stretch came against the Rays, as he was knocked out after three runs in 4.2 innings. That was the game that eventually ended with Josh Donaldson’s walk-off grand slam.

A couple weeks ago, when the teams met in the Bronx, the former reliever Springs held the Yankees to one run on two hits in five innings. In general, he’s been good this season, including a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings against the Yankees.

Saturday: Clarke Schmidt vs. Corey Kluber (6:10 PM ET)

Although he had already made one start the season, Schmidt joined the rotation in a more official capacity last Sunday, as the Yankees have dealt with injuries on the pitching front. That start didn’t go ideally, as he allowed four runs in 4.1 innings against Oakland. Schmidt struck out seven in the outing, but had some issues putting hitters away, throwing 83 pitches in his outing.

In the second game of the series, the Rays will roll out Corey Kluber. The former Yankee has been mostly below average this season, but he has been good against New York so far this year, naturally. In three starts, he’s held the Yankees to just 3 earned runs in 18 innings, as hitters have OPS’d just .522 off him.

Sunday: Frankie Montas vs. TBD (1:40 PM ET)

Montas was one of two Yankee pitches to get Shohei Ohtani’d in the recent Angels’ series, allowing a home run to LA’s superstar in an outing that had been mostly OK prior to the 2021 MVP’s bomb. The home run ended up dooming Montas to a six-inning, four-run outing. Instead of a perfectly nice start, which he seemed on pace to put up prior to that, the game ended up just adding to the pile of less-than-stellar outings since the trade that brought him to New York.

In the series finale, the Rays seem to be leaning towards Ryan Yarbrough on Sunday, although he might follow an opener. He pitched four scoreless innings in that role back on August 15th, and had a two-run, 5.1 inning outing against the Yankees back in May.