The Yankees are on a roll. They have won 6 of their last 7 series and they continue to do so without some of their biggest stars. They just took 3 out of 4 from the struggling Mariners. They head down to Tampa Bay for a weekend series against the Ray at Tropicana Field, a place the team struggled at in 2018.
Game 1: Friday 7:10 PM
Domingo German (6-1; 2.35 ERA) vs Tyler Glasnow (6-0; 1.47 ERA)
Game one features a matchup of both team’s best pitchers in the early season. Both pitchers lead their team in wins, ERA, and have been pleasant surprises up to this point. They are both coming off wins in their most recent start after yet another pair of dominant performances. This game should be a pitcher’s duel between two of the league’s most exciting young pitchers.
Glasnow was part of the package acquired by the Rays in exchange for Chris Archer at the 2018 trade deadline. He has faced the Yankees once in his career, giving up 3 runs (1 earned) in 4.2 innings in a 2017 start. He has fared extremely well against the current Yankee hitters he has faced, holding Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, Mike Tauchman, and Austin Romine to 1 combined hit in 7 plate appearances. Although it is an extremely small sample size, it is a testament to just how good Glasnow’s arsenal of pitches can be.
German is 1-0 in 3 games (2 starts) against the Rays but has struggled to the tune of a 7.36 ERA. He has allowed 9 runs in 11 innings, however the bulk of these runs came when he allowed 6 runs in just 3 innings during a June 2018 start. German has seen mixed results against current Rays hitters, giving up 3 hits including a home run in 5 plate appearances to Matt Duffy, but holding Mike Zunino, Tommy Pham, and Willy Adames to 1 hit in 9 plate appearances. He has come out in 2019 and looked like a completely different pitcher than he has been up to this point in his career, and the results have been terrific.
Game 2: Saturday 6:10 PM
CC Sabathia (2-1; 3.20 ERA) vs TBD
Game two is a battle between CC Sabathia and likely an opener/bullpen day for the Rays. This will be Sabathia’s first start against the Rays since his infamous “that’s for you, bitch” ejection. Although the Rays have not officially announced a starter for game two, it is expected to be an opener. The Yankees have struggled against the opener since MLB teams have started to employ it, especially in 2018 against the Rays.
Sabathia has been his typical self this season, providing the team with 5 quality innings in each of his starts. He is 17-16 in 48 career starts against the Rays, with a 3.67 ERA. In 2018, Sabathia was 1-2 with a 2.00 ERA in 3 starts against the Rays. In his career he has struggled against Kevin Kiermaier, Mike Zunino, and Matt Duffy, surrendering 15 hits to the trio in 36 at bats, including 3 home runs. If Sabathia can give the Yankees his typical 5 inning performance, it should put the team in a great position to win.
Game 3: Sunday 1:10 PM
Masahiro Tanaka (2-3; 6.21 ERA) vs Blake Snell (3-3; 3.62 ERA)
The series finale is an outing between Masahiro Tanaka and reigning AL CY Young Award winner Blake Snell. Tanaka and Snell have both had an up and down season up to this point. While the Yankees are looking for Tanaka to finally put it all together in a start this season, Snell appears to have done it in his last start and is poised to go on the type of tear that allowed him to win the Cy Young Award last season.
In his career, Tanaka is 8-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 14 starts against the Rays. He went 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 3 starts against the Rays last season but turned in one of the most memorable starts of the season when he threw a complete game shutout against them while the Yankees were scuffling at the end of July. It is the type of performance the team will need in order to steal this one from the Rays. As a team, the Rays hit .309 against Tanaka with 3 home runs in 97 at bats. He has struggled against Kevin Kiermaier, Mike Zunino, and Avisail Garcia in particular. Blake Snell has struggled a bit against the Yankees early in his career. He is 3-4 with a 4.37 ERA in 11 starts. In 2018 he went 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA in 3 starts, giving up 9 runs in only 13.1 innings. The Yankees were one of the only teams that saw success against Snell in his dominant 2018 campaign. Gary Sanchez has been terrific against Snell in his career, with 3 home runs and a double in 11 career at bats. Hopefully the Yankees can continue their success against Snell and take the series finale.
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
Adam Ottavino (Hot)
Adam Ottavino was one of the biggest acquisitions for the Yankees during the offseason, and so far in 2019 he has not disappointed. He has a 1.86 ERA in 19.1 innings so far this season, but he has been especially dominant recently. In the last week, Ottavino did not allow a run in his 4 appearances. He struck out 5, and has earned the hold in three of those appearances. Ottavino has been everything the Yankees could have hoped for so far this season.
Gio Urshela (Hot)
Is the early season success that Gio Urshela has experienced sustainable? Probably not, but it has been so much fun up to this point. He remained hot against the Mariners, going 3 for 8 in the series, but making all 3 of those hits count. In game two of the series, he hit a game tying home run in the 9th inning, allowing the Yankees to eventually secure a come from behind win. In the series finale, he came off the bench as a defensive replacement, but drove in 2 runs on a single in his lone at bat, adding much needed insurance runs for the Yankee victory. His hot stretch has been instrumental in the Yankees recent success, but nobody knows how long it can truly last.
Miguel Andujar (Not)
Since coming off of the Injured List (IL), Andujar has been absolutely dreadful. He has 2 hits in 19 at bats and looked terrible at the plate yesterday against the Mariners. His defensive struggles have also been on full display, as he made 2 errors in his first start since returning and has not seen much time in the field since then. The emergence of Gio Urshela as an everyday third base option, has made the fans even more skeptical of Andujar’s recent poor performance. Hopefully Andujar can get it going soon as he gets more comfortable facing opposing pitchers.
Fantasy Players to Watch
DJLM has been an absolute steal for the Yankees so far in 2019. He continues to rake at the plate and play tremendous defense in the field. He consistently hits and as a result he is always a terrific choice for the fantasy series.
Clint is just too talented with the bat to not perform. We have all seen his struggles with the glove, but the strength of his game is on offense. In a fantasy series based on offensive production, it is tough not to pick Clint with so many injuries in the outfield.
Hopefully Domingo is able to continue his recent stretch of quality performances. He is the best choice for the fantasy series with his swing and miss stuff. If he is able to stifle the Rays lineup, it will put the Yankees in a terrific position to win, and will allow German to rack up a number of strikeouts.
The bullpen is a bit of a crapshoot at the moment. It is tough to predict who is going to get the most work, and the results of the games typically dictate which relievers see the most action. My choice for the bullpen is Tommy Kahnle. He has been lights out so far this season, and as a result, is the fun choice here.
Look for the Yankees to keep their hot streak going against the current AL East leader. This series will be one their toughest tests early in the season, especially on the road at Tropicana Field where the team struggled mightily in 2018.
Keep up with the series previews all season and as always go Yanks!
Editors Note: This is a new thing we are doing this season. Each series you will choose one outfielder, one infielder, one starting pitcher, and one relief pitcher. We are only counting two stats. Total bases for hitters and strikeouts for pitchers.
Your totals will be counted and a winner will receive a prize at the end of each month. Make sure you come back and make your picks before each series. You will find them right here on the series preview post.