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Yankees vs. Rays series preview: Time to take advantage

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees salvaged a disastrous weekend by taking the final of four games against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. Will that game be enough to keep their AL East hopes alive? Maybe, but the picture looks kind of bleak. If the Yankees are to have any chance to be crowned AL East champs they are going to have to consistently beat teams that are worse than them like the Tampa Bay Rays. Tonight would be a good place to start.

CC Sabathia gets his second crack at pitching with his new and hopefully improved knee brace in the series opener. Sabathia surrendered three runs over 4.2 innings in his first outing off the disabled list against the Orioles. His pitching competition, Erasmo Ramirez, allowed four runs in five innings in a loss to the Detroit Tigers.

The injury to Nathan Eovaldi allows Adam Warren to step back into the rotation for the middle game of the series. Warren was one of the best starters on the team when he had a place in the rotation earlier in the year, but was used inconsistently with up and down results out of the bullpen. Part of the reason (at least diplomatically) for his return to the bullpen was a concern over his innings total jumping too much over the previous season. We'll have to see if those concerns were legitimate when he gets another chance to start.

Luis Severino had his first real clunker of an outing his last time out, so he'll be looking for better results and hopefully better command when he faces the Rays in the series finale. Severino somehow injured his leg at home in a bizarre situation that no one seems able to explain. Hopefully that doesn't impact him going forward because the Yankees really cannot afford another injury at this point. He'll have to face Chris Archer, who the Yankees were able to get to for the first time in their last meeting. Here's to more of that this time around.

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