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Rays vs. Yankees Series Preview

Hoping for better results in the Big Apple

clearing snow
At least Yankee Stadium won’t look like this — we hope.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The streaky Tampa Bay Rays are coming off a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, but now they face the New York Yankees. The Yankees sit atop the American League East with a 43-20 record and a 111 win pace.

Matchups:

Thursday 7:05 PM: Blake Snell vs Domingo German
Friday 7:05 PM: Nathan Eovaldi vs Jonathan Loaisiga
Saturday 1:05 PM: TBA vs Luis Severino
Sunday 1:05 PM: TBA vs CC Sabathia

Jonathan Loaisiga is expected to be called up to start on Friday night, so the Yankees will have to make a roster move before the game.

First two games the Rays have the experience edge on the mound, but the Yankees take the edge in the final two

Yankees Starters Last 3 Years

Pitcher GS IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Pitcher GS IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Domingo German 6 61.2 26.8% 10.6% 1.31 4.82 4.21
Luis Severino 67 417.2 27.0% 7.1% 0.99 3.30 3.33
CC Sabathia 85 482.0 18.9% 8.2% 1.25 3.81 4.52

Last year Domingo German got his first taste of the big leagues with seven appearances out of the bullpen. This year he’s gotten a chance in the rotation when Jordan Montgomery needed Tommy John surgery. German was a part of the trade that sent Martin Prado and (current Ray) Nate Eovaldi to the Marlins. In six starts German has a 6.00 ERA and 4.70 FIP over 33.0 innings. In his last start, facing the NY Mets, he allowed three runs in 6.0 innings including two homers.

Jonathan Loaisiga was placed on the 40 man roster this winter to protect him from the rule 5 draft and now Masahiro Tanaka’s DL stint has him positioned to make his MLB debut. Loaisiga entered the year just outside the top 10 Yankee prospect lists by most publications. He is a Tommy John surgery survivor who returned to pitching in late 2017. He throws a fastball in the mid to upper 90s and a curve ball is his breaking ball of choice.

Luis Severino struggled in 2016 and was demoted to the bullpen. In 2017 he forced his way into the rotation and thrived. Over 280 plus innings he has an ERA and FIP below 3.00. His strikeout rate has hovered around 30% and his walk rate has plummeted to 6.5%. In his last start he allowed two runs in 5.0 innings to the Mets. The Rays were held to two runs in 7.1 innings in his second start of the year.

CC Sabathia isn’t the fireballer on the the mound that he once was. This year he has a 3.27 ERA and 4.66 FIP. For the last four years he hasn’t had a strikeout rate above 20%. He has done a great job limiting damage on the balls put in play. In his last start he held the Washington Nationals scoreless through 5.2 innings.

The Yankees entered the season with one of the deepest bullpens in the league

Yankees Relievers Last 3 Years

Pitcher G IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Pitcher G IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Dellin Betances 211 213.1 26.4% 10.7% 0.76 2.87 2.69
David Robertson 189 198.0 26.5% 6.0% 0.82 3.14 2.90
Aroldis Chapman 176 175.0 22.6% 12.1% 0.36 1.90 1.77
Adam Warren 139 163.2 23.6% 8.8% 0.93 3.30 3.85
Chasen Shreve 143 134.1 24.0% 8.5% 1.94 4.22 5.29
Chad Green 69 108.2 20.9% 7.2% 0.58 1.57 1.99
Jonathan Holder 66 70.1 22.8% 9.8% 0.90 3.58 3.26
AJ Cole 11 20.0 28.9% 5.0% 1.80 3.15 5.62

Their 2.96 ERA ranks fifth in the majors and 2.96 FIP ranks second. Their 32.5% strikeout rate puts them as the only bullpen with a strikeout rate over 30%. Their 9.4% walk rate gives you opportunities.

Aroldis Chapman has locked down the ninth inning with a 1.26 ERA and 1.28 FIP this year. He’s struck out 44.3% of batters faced.

Chad Green (1.95 ERA/2.35 FIP), David Robertson (3.82 ERA/2.44 FIP), and Dellin Betances (3.41 ERA/2.77 FIP) have done the heavy lifting in getting the game to Chapman.

Everybody except AJ Cole has thrown in the last two days, but with the off day on Monday nobody has thrown more than once over the past three days. The bullpen should start the series at full strength.

The Yankees have produced the best offense in the league

Yankees Batters Last 3 Years

Batter PA HR SB BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Batter PA HR SB BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Brett Gardner 1992 44 51 10.9% 18.2% 0.261 0.348 0.393 0.326 103
Didi Gregorius 1812 65 20 5.0% 13.2% 0.277 0.318 0.451 0.327 104
Giancarlo Stanton 1488 105 4 10.9% 26.9% 0.262 0.350 0.556 0.376 136
Neil Walker 1420 51 5 9.9% 18.0% 0.268 0.343 0.441 0.337 111
Aaron Hicks 1214 39 26 11.2% 18.4% 0.245 0.331 0.413 0.323 101
Aaron Judge 1057 74 12 17.3% 31.8% 0.270 0.400 0.583 0.408 159
Gary Sanchez 986 65 3 9.3% 23.8% 0.262 0.339 0.535 0.367 131
Ronald Torreyes 576 4 4 4.0% 12.7% 0.288 0.316 0.382 0.302 86
Austin Romine 510 10 1 6.3% 20.0% 0.242 0.290 0.365 0.283 73
Greg Bird 407 23 0 9.8% 27.5% 0.223 0.307 0.476 0.334 109
Tyler Austin 265 15 2 6.8% 40.0% 0.227 0.283 0.459 0.315 96
Miguel Andujar 227 8 2 4.4% 16.7% 0.313 0.344 0.551 0.378 141
Gleyber Torres 168 12 2 6.5% 25.6% 0.296 0.353 0.566 0.388 148

The Yankees are hitting .252/.331/.462 and put up a 116 wRC+. They are averaging 5.46 runs per game. They lead the league with 107 homers.

The Yankees are being carried by their least experienced bats. Aaron Judge (159 wRC+), Gleyber Torres (148 wRC+), and Miguel Andujar (135 wRC+) are leading the way.

Giancarlo Stanton (118 wRC+), Didi Gregorius (113 wRC+), Brett Gardner (111 wRC+), and Aaron Hicks (111 wRC+) are supplementing the young guys with some impressive hitting of their own.

Gary Sanchez has fallen off after a great start to his Yankees career with a .190/.291/.430 and put up a 96 wRC+ with 12 homers.

The Rays look to continue streaking.

The Rays will need some good bounces and maybe a strong wind blowing in to outplay the Yankees this weekend. But TBD has been doing a great job, and Blake Snell isn’t bad either; hopefully that will help them come out with a few wins.