I’ll be the first to admit to being a rather large Ryan Yarbrough skeptic, but boy oh boy did he deliver in Cleveland on Thursday. In the opening game of a four-game set that is looking more and more important given the fact that both the Yankees and Red Sox have decided to never lose another game, Yarbs provided 7.1 shining innings in his return from Triple-A.
Yarbs was cooking down at Triple-A (2.14/2.23/2.79 ERA/FIP/xFIP) after having been sent down for decidedly not cooking at the MLB level earlier this season (8.10/4.65/4.46 before Thursday’s start). Zooming out, the FIP and xFIP really weren’t that far off of the 27-year-old lefty’s 2018 season, he was just having some tough luck. Thursday reversed that, and if Yarbrough can be back to his mid-4.00s self, that will be big for bridging the gap to whenever Glasnow gets back.
Thursday’s win was also important given that the Rays got to beat up on Adam Plutko (6.35/8.38/5.48) in game one of the series, but will now face Shane Bieber (3.22/3.72/3.44), Carlos Carrasco (4.30/3.62/3.27), and a TBD on Sunday. The Rays will counter with a couple of aces of their own in Blake Snell (3.31/2.58/2.37) and Charlie Morton (2.65/3.18/3.54), before turning to an opener for the series finale.
A split is the bare minimum, while taking three out of four would be a good result. A sweep and the vibes start to get good again.
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