The Yankees lost their second straight series despite salvaging the final game with an extra innings victory.  In each game of the series they took an early lead before allowing the Indians to storm back and tie it. In games one and two the Indians eventually took the lead and won the game. The Yankees were able to score in the 9th and 10th innings in order to steal game three and avoid the sweep. They return to the Bronx where they will welcome their cross town rival for a two-game set in the annual Subway Series.

Probable Starters

Game 1: Monday 7:05 PM

Masahiro Tanaka (3-5; 3.42 ERA) vs Jason Vargas (2-3; 3.57 ERA)

Game one is a matchup between Masahiro Tanaka and Jason Vargas. Tanaka was originally supposed to pitch in the series finale on Sunday, however he missed the weekend series after being placed on paternity leave with the birth of his child on Friday. He has struggled over his last two starts, giving up 8 runs in 12 innings. Hopefully he will be able to turn it around and quiet a Mets team that is 5-5 over their last 10 games, but has won 2 straight. Vargas was terrific in his last start, throwing a complete game shutout. He has been solid for the Mets so far in 2019, giving up 4 earned runs or less in each of his starts.

Tanaka has faced the Mets 4 times in his career, going 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA. He earned a no decision in his start against them last year, giving up 1 run over 5 innings. He has held current Mets hitters to a .253 average, a .273 OBP, and a .673 OPS in 75 at bats. He has also been able to keep the ball in the park, only allowing home runs to Robinson Cano, Brandon Nimmo, and Carlos Gomez (Cano and Nimmo are currently on the IL).  Vargas is 0-7 with a 6.84 ERA in 11 starts against the Yankees. He has struggled against Hicks, Gardner, Maybin, and Gregorius in his career, allowing each to hit over .280 while giving up 5 home runs.

Game 2: Tuesday 7:05 PM

James Paxton (3-2; 3.11 ERA) vs Zack Wheeler (5-3; 4.61 ERA)

The series finale is a battle between James Paxton and Zack Wheeler. Paxton struggled his last time out, giving up 4 runs in 4.2 innings. He was on an 85-pitch limit as he works his way back from a knee injury that sidelined him for 3 weeks. This should be his first start in which he does not have a limit, so expect to see Paxton back to his old self and providing the Yankees with length and quality pitching. He has faced the Mets once in his career, earning the win while pitching 6 shutout innings. He has stifled currents Mets hitters, allowing them to hit .161 with a .438 OPS in 31 at bats.

Wheeler has been really solid for the Mets this season. In his last 4 outings, he has provided the Mets with 7+ innings and 4 or fewer runs, with the Mets winning all 4 of them. Wheeler has faced the Yankees once in his career, earning a no decision but allowed 5 runs in only 4.1 innings in a 2014 start. Wheeler has struggled against Brett Gardner and Luke Voit in extremely small sample sizes, allowing both to go 2 for 3. He has held LeMahieu and Urshela hitless in 4 at bats.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Didi Gregorius (Hot)

Despite prolonging the game on Sunday with a costly error, Gregorius has been scorching hot at the plate in the first few games of his season. He paced the Yankees offense in the first two games of the series, going 4 for 8 with 3 singles, a home run, and 2 RBIs. The Yankees sorely missed his left-handed bat in a lineup full of right-handed hitters. Hopefully Didi can continue his hot stretch in his first home series of the season.

Clint Frazier (Hot)

Clint Frazier made headlines with his poor defensive play and then refusal to speak to the media following the Red Sox series. Since then he has been terrific at the plate and made no defensive miscues. In the last week he is 7 for 19 with 3 doubles, a home run, and 4 walks. He has shown a mature approach at the plate and results have been terrific so far in 2019. If Frazier can continue to play average defense, he will be a high impact player for this Yankees team for years to come.

Brett Gardner (Not)

Although he was able to jump start the Yankees 5 run second inning with a home run in the series finale on Sunday, Gardner has been awful at the plate recently. In the last week he is 2 for 25 with 0 walks. He has shown signs of life recently, hitting the ball hard but his hard hits always seem to be right at the defense. Hopefully Gardner can pull himself out of this slump and eventually get hot as we’ve seen him do so many times before.   

Jonathan Holder (Not)

Jonathan Holder has been terrible so far in 2019. He was thought to be an underrated piece of the Yankees bullpen following his solid performance in 2018, but he has not been able to duplicate his success. He has been especially bad in his last week, giving up 5 runs in only 2.2 innings. If he does not improve, he will likely be demoted to AAA in favor of Joe Harvey, who has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees in 2019.

Fantasy Players to Watch

Didi Gregorius

Didi Gregorius will likely play in both games against the Mets after getting a day off on Sunday. He has gotten off to a great start so far in 2019, and I expect that to continue in his first home series of the season. The impact he provides as a left-handed bat in the middle of this lineup is something the Yankees sorely missed early in the season.

Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier has been terrific at the plate this season. He is hitting .280 with 11 home runs, while working the count more and getting better pitches to hit. In a fantasy series focused purely on hitting, there is not a better choice than Clint Frazier.

James Paxton

James Paxton has been one of the top strikeout pitchers for the Yankees this season. As he finally will be off of his pitch restriction, he should get the opportunity to get deeper into the game and strike out more hitters. Expect him to do so in a potential pitcher’s duel with Zack Wheeler

Tommy Kahnle

Tommy Kahnle really struggled in his last outing on Sunday giving up 4 runs in his lone inning. He looks like he has turned the corner from his terrible 2018 season, and I expect that he will put this poor performance behind him.

Hopefully the Yankees can sweep the two-game set, putting them in great position to win the 2019 installment of the subway series. Playing their cross-town rival always seems to inject some energy into the team, which is exactly what the Yankees need after playing back to back lifeless series against opponents that they should have been able to beat.

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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. 

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