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Rays vs Yankees Game Preview: The Most Important Game of the Year...so far

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tonight, the two top teams in the American League East will begin a three game series that could redefine the division by Sunday night.

The Tampa Bay Rays enter play tonight with a record of 23-13 and a slim 1.5 game lead over the New York Yankees. There are several possible outcomes for how the three games could play out as a Rays sweep could open up their division lead to 4.5 games, while a Yankees sweep would have Tampa Bay relinquish their season long hold of first place.

The fact that the New York Yankees are just 1.5 games back of the division lead is incredible right now when you take into consideration what has happened to their roster over the first several weeks of the season.

New York currently has only four players that are qualifying for any of the league leader statistics on FanGraphs: DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torress, and Brett Gardner. They currently have 13 players on the Injured List, including the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, and James Paxton.

An offensively resurgent Gary Sanchez has helped soften the blow of the Yankees losing their big boppers. Sanchez and Voit are both in the double-digits in home runs.

Kicking off the three game set, the Rays will be sending their early Cy Young candidate, Tyler Glasnow, to the hill. Glasnow has dominated in the early going, carving through opposing hitters with ease while he has learned to harness control of his pitches. Thus far over seven starts, Glasnow has compiled a 1.47 ERA & 2.39 FIP to go along with a 28.8K% and 4.4 BB% over 43 innings pitched.

The Yankees starting pitcher, Domingo German, has been pretty darn good in his own right. The 26 year old righty has dominated over his seven games — six starts — thus far, compiling a 2.35 ERA & 2.71 FIP with a 25.8 K% and 8.0 BB% over 38 13 innings pitched.

His last time out may have been his best outing of the year as he racked up seven strikeouts over 6 23 innings pitched against the Minnesota Twins on the 5th, yielding a run on four hits and three walks.

Pitch Repertoire per Brooks Baseball

Domingo German has thrown 2,308 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2014 and 2019, all of them occuring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2019, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (94mph) and Curve (82mph), also mixing in a Change (88mph) and Sinker (94mph).

His fourseam fastball results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has essentially average velo and has slight armside run. His curve generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ curves, has primarily 12-6 movement, has little depth and is slightly harder than usual. His change is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ changeups, has an obvious armside fade and is much firmer than usual. His sinker has an obvious tail, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sinkers and has well above average velo.

Starting Lineups