The Tampa Bay Rays head to Yankee Stadium for the New York Yankees home opener. The Yankees are coming off a 2-2 split with the Toronto Blue Jays. The planned Monday home opener was postponed to Tuesday’s scheduled off day after an snow storm hit the area. According to weather.com the chance of rain today from 1:00 PM to 6:00 is above 75%; rain is also expected tomorrow morning, but should clear by mid afternoon. There’s a chance either or both games get postponed.
Tuesday 4:00 PM: Chris Archer vs Jordan Montgomery
Wednesday 1:05 PM: Blake Snell vs Luis Severino
Luis Severino broke out in 2017
Yankees Starting Pitchers Last 3+ Years
Left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery had a very successful rookie season in 2017. Montgomery faced the Rays three times. In his first two starts he allowed seven runs, six earned, in 7.1 combined innings. However in his final start he limited the Rays to one run in six innings. In his limited major league sample he has shown very little split allowing a .297 wOBA to right handed batters and a .285 wOBA to left handed batters.
The Severino story looks like the start of the Blake Snell story. Luis Severino was a highly ranked prospect that had a promising debut in 2015 but really struggled out of the gate as a starter in 2016. In nine starts and three relief appearances he put up a 7.19 ERA and 4.72 FIP over 55.1 innings culminating with a seven runs over 3.2 inning start against the Rays on August 14. Instead of sending him to AAA to work through things the Yankees moved Severino to the bullpen, where he thrived. That momentum propelled him to a breakout 2017: 193.1 innings pitched with a 2.98 ERA and a 3.07 FIP. In Severino’s first start of the 2018nseason he held the Blue Jays scoreless through 5.2 innings.
The Yankees offense gets the headlines, but their bullpen might be their biggest strength
Yankees Relievers Last 3+ Years
Teams better do their scoring off the Yankees starters because things get much tougher when you get to the bullpen. It doesn’t matter if it’s the fifth inning, they can string very good relievers throughout the rest of the game if they choose.
Aroldis Chapman possesses a flame thrower for his left hand. Baseball Savant has a filter to remove Chapman’s fastballs from the rankings for a reason. At times he’s wildly effective.
The long time setup man for Mariano Rivera returned to the Bronx last summer. David Robertson’s fastball/curveball mix continues to baffle hitters.
Dellin Betances always has a bout of wildness around the corner. His high octane fastball and slurve combination is tough for hitters. Last year his control problems prolonged for much of the season leading to a 16.9% walk rate. Even with the elevated walk rate he posted an ERA south of three.
Following the off day on Monday the Yankees bullpen should be at full strength for both games.
The Giancarlo era started off with a bang
Yankees Batters Last 3+ Years
The middle of the Yankees lineup packs quite the punch with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. Good luck Snell.
Stanton hit two homers in the season opener. Let’s hope there are no fireworks for his initial Bronx homecoming.
The rest of the lineup can be pitched to. Neil Walker, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, and Brandon Drury are solid complementary bats.
The Rays will lean on their two top of the rotation starters
All four games against the Red Sox were close games that the Rays could have won. They ended up only winning one. Hopefully the offense wakes out of their slumber and puts a few runs on the board to give the pitching a chance to win it for them.