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Yankees vs. Rays Preview: Michael Pineda vs. Drew Smyly

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Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Today, maybe more than any other day, is a day where the Yankees just need to keep on winning. They have lost Masahiro Tanaka for what could be an entire month, and even then, who knows what could happen before he's ready to return. The best way to cushion that blow is to continue to win and a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays would make us all feel a little better about things right now.

On the mound today is Michael Pineda, the one pitcher who might be able to fill in as staff ace while Tanaka is out. Pineda has a 3.86 ERA and 2.22 FIP over 25.2 innings and so far has an astounding 13.50–that's 27-2–strikeout to walk ratio. He's made it to at least the sixth inning three out of his four starts, so if anyone will be able to give the bullpen some rest, it's (hopefully) him. The Rays send out Drew Smyly for only his second start of the season after the lefty started the year on the disabled list. He only went 4.2 innings last time out, so hopefully for the Yankees he isn't fully stretched out yet and won't be able to go deep into the ballgame. We'll see.

With a lefty on the mound, both Alex Rodriguez and Chris Young will be in the starting lineup. Despite only just sending him down to the minors yesterday, the Yankees can recall Gregorio Petit now that Tanaka is on the disabled list. They would have had to originally wait 10 days before he was eligible to return, but the injury made it possible. Jose Pirela won't be called up yet and Brendan Ryan has just reached extended spring training, so Petit will remain their right-handed platoon bat for the time being.


Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS NEW YORK YANKEES
David DeJesus - DH Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Steven Souza - RF Chris Young - LF
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Alex Rodriguez - DH
Evan Longoria - 3B Mark Teixeira - 1B
James Loney - 1B Carlos Beltran - RF
Logan Forsythe - 2B Chase Headley - 3B
Kevin Kiermaier - CF John Ryan Murphy - C
Brandon Guyer - LF Gregorio Petit - 2B
Bobby Wilson - C Didi Gregorius - SS
Drew Smyly - LHP Michael Pineda - RHP