New York’s pitchers managed to hold the high-powered Rangers offense in check through nine innings last night, so they certainly have a roadmap to success for this afternoon’s game. That starts with a strong outing from Luis Severino, something that’s been hard to come by in the month of June.
Hopefully, Severino was taking notes during his last start against Boston — despite giving up four runs, it represented a step in the right direction following three nightmare outings. He managed to keep the ball in the park after serving up eight home runs in his previous four starts, but the walks continue to do him no favors. His fastball has been getting crushed, as in some starts the velocity is down 2-3 mph and in other starts it’s missing the riding life you want out of a four-seamer. In six starts, Severino is 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA (67 ERA+), 6.37 FIP, and 28 strikeouts in 30 innings.
Jon Gray is having one of the best starts to a season of his career in his second year with the Rangers. He’s tweaked his pitch usage from his Colorado days, decreasing his reliance on four-seamer and slider and mixing in more changeups and curveballs. As a result, he’s getting hitters to chase at by far the highest rate of his career, and while those don’t always lead to strikeouts, they have helped him induce a lot more weak contact. In 13 starts, Gray is 6-2 with a 2.96 ERA (145 ERA+), 4.25 FIP, and 65 strikeouts in 76 innings.
The Yankees make just two changes to the lineup that could only muster a pair of runs in 10 innings last night. Harrison Bader come back in to play center, moving Isiah Kiner-Falefa to third and DJ LeMahieu to the bench while Kyle Higashioka rotates in for Jose Trevino behind the plate. The struggling Josh Donaldson sits for a second straight game while LeMahieu gets a day off, despite some encouraging signs in the series opener.
It’s remarkable that the Yankees pitchers were able to suppress the Rangers lineup for just two runs in regulation, four runs below their scoring average on the season. Unlike the Yankees, Texas has their “A” lineup pretty much set in stone, and with the one substitution made from last night’s game — Jonah Heim catching, moving Mitch Garver to DH and Robbie Grossman to the bench — every hitter one-thru-nine has a wRC+ in excess of 116.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY
First pitch: 4:05 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES – NYY / Bally Sports Southwest - TEX
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.tv