The New York Yankees will travel south to take on the Tampa Bay Rays with a chance to jump into first place in the American League East.
- New York Yankees (22-15)
- Tampa Bay Rays (23-13)
- 5/10, 5/11, 5/12 Start times: (7:10 P.M, 6:10 P.M, 1:10 P.M) ET
- Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
After another successful homestand that saw the Yankees go 5-2 the Bombers are set to hit the road with a chance to take control of the American League East as they start a pivotal three-game series with the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
New York will enter play a game and a half back of Tampa Bay and will look to take their first division lead since opening day with a sweep at the Trop.
This weekend’s series will be the first between the two clubs in 2019 but will kick-off an 11-day stretch where the teams will meet six times as next weekend the Rays will travel to the Bronx.
The Rays are off to a fantastic start to the 2019 season as they currently have baseball’s third-highest winning percentage only behind the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tampa’s biggest strength is its outstanding pitching. The Rays pitching staff has posted an MLB’s best 2.87 which is over half a run better than the Cincinnati Reds who rank second in the big’s at 3.44.
To no surprise, this weekend will feature several marquee pitching match-ups. Here’s a look at who will be on the mound this weekend in St. Pete.
Domingo German (6-1, 2.35 ERA) vs. Tyler Glasnow (6-0, 1.47 ERA)
The first game of this weekend’s series will feature two surprising early Cy-Young award candidates in Domingo German and Tyler Glasnow.
German has been everything, and more the Yankees have needed with Luis Severino on the shelf. The 26-year-old has struck out 39 batters in 38.1 innings of work this season as he has put batters away with a wipeout slider.
As for Glasnow, he was one of two key pieces the Rays received from the Pirates in exchange for Chris Archer last season. It’s safe to say he’s been the top performer of the trade as after impressing in his outings in Tampa at the end of 2018 Glasnow is a perfect 6-0 and holds an ERA well below two so far in 2019.
No one could have predicted before the season that this match-up to be one of the best in baseball this season, but that’s exactly what it will be Friday night as the series will likely open with a low scoring affair.
CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.20 ERA) vs. Yonny Chirinos (4-1, 3.52 ERA)
Game two of the three-game set will see the Tampa Bay Rays send several pitchers to the mound as it will be a bullpen day for the founders of baseballs new phenomenon.
Yonny Chirinos will be the first Ray on the bump and could go multiple innings as he pitched 6.2 innings in a July start against the Yankees last season
The Yankees will counter the Rays bullpen day with CC Sabathia who has struggled a bit after a dominant start to the season. In his last outing, Sabathia earned the win despite allowing a pair of home runs to the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 3.77 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (3-3, 3.62 ERA)
The series will conclude with two of the American League’s best in Masahiro Tanaka and Blake Snell.
Neither pitcher has had his best stuff early on in 2019, but Snell showed in his most recent start that he might be back on track.
The 2018 Cy-young award winner tossed six scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night striking out nine batters.
As for Tanaka he has struggled to find his splitter in the early going this season but has been able to work deep into multiple starts and keep the Yankees close in nearly all of his outings.
This series should be one that will be played with high intensity on both sides. Both teams have an AL East title as their main goal for the 2019 season and have great chances to do just that. With this being the first of 19 match-ups between the two clubs it’s a chance to take the momentum of the season series.
I believe this series will be a lot more challenging then it will be when the Yankees have their boppers in the lineup so I’ll take Tampa to win two out of three but figure each game to be low scoring and the Bombers to have a chance to win each night with one swing of the bat.