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Rays vs. Yankees Series Preview: two game series threatened by snow, rain

If weather clears, Rays will get first look at ALE favorites

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

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.

Matchups:

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

Pitcher GS IP K% BB% ERA FIP
Pitcher GS IP K% BB% ERA FIP
Jordan Montgomery 29 155.1 22.2% 7.9% 3.88 4.07
Luis Severino 54 332.1 26.2% 7.4% 3.52 3.60

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

Pitcher GP IP K% BB% ERA FIP
Pitcher GP IP K% BB% ERA FIP
Aroldis Chapman 178 176.2 39.0% 9.9% 2.09 1.90
David Robertson 185 196.0 32.7% 8.7% 3.03 2.96
Dellin Betances 215 219.2 39.9% 12.5% 2.50 2.55
Tommy Kahnle 136 125.1 29.9% 12.4% 3.30 3.26
Chad Green 54 118.0 35.1% 6.9% 2.90 3.05
Adam Warren 148 254.2 20.3% 8.1% 3.46 3.86
Chasen Shreve 140 136.2 26.2% 12.0% 3.82 5.00
Jonathan Holder 46 48.0 22.0% 5.7% 4.13 3.80

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

Player PA HR SB BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Player PA HR SB BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Aaron Judge 791 56 9 17.6% 32.4% 0.268 0.401 0.582 0.407 157
Giancarlo Stanton 1498 115 6 11.5% 26.8% 0.265 0.355 0.583 0.387 145
Gary Sanchez 770 53 3 8.3% 23.5% 0.279 0.348 0.558 0.378 138
Neil Walker 1525 53 7 9.4% 17.8% 0.271 0.344 0.444 0.338 113
Brett Gardner 1991 45 59 10.6% 18.4% 0.260 0.347 0.396 0.326 103
Didi Gregorius 1761 54 15 4.5% 13.5% 0.276 0.314 0.434 0.320 99
Brandon Drury 1054 32 2 6.1% 20.2% 0.273 0.322 0.451 0.329 98
Ronald Torreyes 512 4 4 4.3% 12.5% 0.282 0.313 0.376 0.298 83
Austin Romine 433 6 1 5.3% 20.6% 0.226 0.267 0.326 0.257 55
Tyler Austin 142 9 1 7.7% 38.7% 0.240 0.296 0.488 0.330 107
Tyler Wade 75 0 1 6.7% 29.3% 0.143 0.200 0.214 0.187 6
Miguel Adujar 12 0 1 8.3% 16.7% 0.364 0.417 0.545 0.409 165

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.