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New York Yankees @ Miami Marlins: Ian Hamilton vs. Jesús Luzardo

The reeling Bombers take a vacay to Miami for a weekend interleague set.

MLB: New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully Yankees fans took something of a mental health day yesterday — it’s not been easy to watch this team fail every which way against subpar competition. After an offday to cleanse the palate, the Marlins present the newest test for our lethargic last-place squad.

Most recently, fans took exception to the puzzling decision to insert Luis Severino after a clean first inning by opener Ian Hamilton in Wednesday’s game. Hamilton carries a 1.63 ERA on the season. Inexplicably, management acted as if skipping the first inning would somehow solve Sevy’s woes, even though in almost every start, the second inning was also horrendous, and the third, etc. Contextually, the move makes even less sense. The number on the scoreboard flipping from one to two won’t change Severino’s painful year and diminishing stuff.

That decision is merely a star in a constellation of errors. This weekend, the Bombers travel to Miami for a three-game set against the upstart Marlins, current holders of the third and final Wild Card spot in the National League. The Cubs, Reds, and Diamondbacks are hot on their heels. The Marlins have performed reasonably above expectation, especially their offense. The surprise trade for Luis Arraez this past offseason worked swimmingly — he’s hitting .369 and anchoring the top of the lineup.

The Yankees announced a couple of roster moves today, placing Nestor Cortes back on the IL. Correspondingly, they’ve recalled Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez to fill out the pitching staff.

Previously with the A’s, today’s starter Jesús Luzardo flashed brilliance but mostly showed inconsistency early in his career. The Marlins acquired him in 2021, and he’s been a solid mid-rotation arm for their starting staff. Last time out, he battled for 5.1 innings against the Rangers’ dynamic lineup, surrendering four earned runs. The Bombers, meanwhile, will go to an opener and once again it’ll be Hamilton. Look for Vásquez to step in for Hamilton as the “bulk guy” starting in the second or third inning.

The Marlins grade out as a decent but limited team with a few potent weapons — they rank 16th in team ERA and 17th in team OPS. Their run differential is down at -38, a pretty gnarly number for a team with playoff aspirations. They bought aggressively at the deadline, and the hot streak of acquisition Josh Bell gives them another legit power bat.

The 1-2-3 spots in the order are a formidable trio: Soler, Arraez, and Bell. It’s an interesting strategy to bat the guy with 28 home runs leadoff and the guy leading the league in batting average behind him. After Bell, MLB The Show cover boy Jazz Chisholm Jr. holds down the cleanup spot. Also of note is recent acquisition Jake Burger from the White Sox, batting seventh.

DJ LeMahieu’s absence from the lineup after the off day doesn’t bode well for his health (he had imaging done on his calf today). Kyle Higashioka gets the start behind the plate against the lefty. This isn’t a rebuilding Marlins team; for the first time in recent full-season memory, the Marlins and general manager Kim Ng are going for it as pure buyers, and the Yankees will stand in their way this weekend.

How to watch

Location: loanDepot Park — Miami, FL

First pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET

TV broadcast: YES Network, Bally Sports Florida

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280

Online stream:

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