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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Series Preview

After dropping two of three to Tampa Bay last weekend, can the Yankees better that as the teams move meet in the Bronx?

MLB: MAY 07 Yankees at Rays Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Aaron Judge back in the lineup after coming off the injured list, the Yankees finally showed some offensive prowess in their three-game sweep of the Athletics. While A’s pitching isn’t exactly good, the Yankees put up 28 runs over the three games, which is the same amount as they had scored in the seven games prior to that.

This weekend should see a bit of a tougher test, as the AL East-leading Rays are set to come to town. The two teams met in the Trop last weekend, and Tampa Bay took two out of three, with the Yankees missing out on a golden chance to do that themselves.

Before the action in this four-game set starts off tonight, let’s take a look at the pitching matchups that we’ll see in this series.

Thursday: Domingo Germán vs. Drew Rasmussen (7:05 pm ET)

After taking a no-hitter deep against Cleveland last Monday, Germán only lasted five innings in his start in the Trop last Saturday. He did only end up allowing two runs, which kept the Yankees in striking distance as they rallied for a win.

In the last series, Rasmussen got a start and held the Yankees to just two hits and no runs in 5.2 innings. That’s been in line with what he’s done against the Bombers so far in his career. Rasmussen has yet to allow any run to the Yankees, albeit in just 14 innings across three games.

Friday: Gerrit Cole vs. TBD (7:05 pm ET)

Cole’s start against the Rays on Sunday is the only real blemish on his 2023 season so far. The five earned runs — six in total — was only slightly less than he had given up in total across his first seven starts of the season. Only two times last year did he give up six or more runs and in both instances he bounced back with shutout performances of at least six innings.

The Rays have not named a starter for Friday’s game at time of writing, but based on their recent rotation, it’ll likely be some sort of opener situation.

Saturday: Nestor Cortes vs. Shane McClanahan (1:05 pm ET)

After a pretty good start to the season, Cortes has struggled a bit of late. 12 earned runs allowed across 14.2 innings over his last three starts has seen his ERA balloon up to 4.74. He missed the Rays in last weekend’s series as he was dealing with strep throat, so this will be his first go at them this season.

The Yankees missed McClanahan last time around, as he had pitched two days before that series opened. Last year’s AL All-Star starter has looked the part so far again this year, coming into this game with a 1.76 ERA. Last year, he gave up six runs (only three earned, though) in 18 innings against the Yankees.

Sunday: Clarke Schmidt vs. Zach Eflin (1:35 pm ET)

Schmidt’s start on Tuesday was probably his best of the season so far, although that’s not saying much considering it was against the A’s. However, he did go six innings, allowing just two runs while striking out seven. With the rotation still dealing with injuries, he’s going to have to occupy a rotation spot for at least a little while longer, but it’s understandable to be worried about how Sunday will go.

The Yankees also missed Tampa Bay offseason signing Eflin in their meeting in St. Petersburg. Since coming over from the Phillies, Eflin has been pretty good, although he did give up four runs to the Orioles in his most recent outing.