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Yankees vs. Athletics series preview: Two to go

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees kick off their next to last series before the All-Star break by welcoming the Oakland Athletics to town for a three-game series. New York currently sits on top of the AL East by 1.5 games heading into tonight and their opponents are bringing up the rear of the AL West at 11 games behind the division-leading Astros.

Nathan Eovaldi has been better as of late, but he'll have to square off against Sonny Gray who owns a 2.09 ERA on the year. Gray has been dominant on the road this season, but a nasty run in with salmonella had him in the hospital just last week. He'll be making his first start since being released tonight. Eovaldi has won each of his last three starts. The last time the Yankees and A's met, it didn't go too well for New York. Hopefully those fortunes will be reversed this time around.

The middle game of the three-game set will feature CC Sabathia and Scott Kazmir on the hill. Sabathia was pushed back from his start against the Rays, probably for additional rest but also possibly to keep him from putting in two more starts before the All-Star break. He has been the opposite of good this season and is really only still in the rotation because of his salary and Adam Warren's innings limit. Kazmir, however, has been tough, pitching to a 2.56 ERA in 98.1 innings so far this season. Masahiro Tanaka will start the final game of the series opposite Jesse Chavez on Thursday.

New York will be making two important additions to their team on Wednesday, as they are expected to activate both Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller from the disabled list. Both should be a big help to a team that already finds itself in first place. If the Yankees want to create some space between them and their division rivals, having Ellsbury and Miller back can only help their cause.

Here is tonight's lineup:

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