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Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays (7/23-7/25)

Following their rain-shortened two-game series split against the Mets at home this past weekend, the Yankees head down South for three days to face the Rays in Tampa Bay.  Tropicana Field has, in a way, been a house of horrors for New York, having gone just 4-9 at The Trop since the beginning of 2017 including an ugly three-game sweep just a month ago. The Yankees will begin play today at 63-34, five full games behind the first place Red Sox.  Tampa Bay comes in at 50-49, 19 games out of first and 9.5 games back of Seattle for the second Wild Card position. With trade rumors swirling for both squads and the teams headed in opposite directions, this series provides a key opportunity for the Yankees to get back on track and put pressure on Boston to once again close up the AL East race.

Why Scherzer makes sense

By: Chad Raines 
Upon entering the 2014 offseason, the New York Yankees were looking at being one of the heavy favorites to sign Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or James Shields. Shortly after, Yankees GM Brian Cashman stated that they would not be pursuing any of the “big 3” starting pitchers on the market. 
But as CBS Sports writer Jon Heyman reports, the Yankees just might be reconsidering themselves.
As far as Jon Lester and James Shields go, there is a slim to none chance either of them winds up in Pinstripes. However, Scherzer poses an interesting decision for the front office to make.
Signing perennial All-Star and 2013 American League Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer makes sense. There is no way around that. Here are quite a few reasons as to why the Yankees must pull this deal off.

1)      Effort
Let’s be honest with ourselves, as Yankee fans, we are a bit spoiled when it comes to winning. As a fan base, we demand our team is playing in October year in and year out. The Bronx Bombers haven’t made the postseason since the 2012 season and it is very important for the front office to show the fans they are making strides toward getting back on top of baseball.

2)      Durability
Since the 2013 season, Scherzer has thrown 434 2/3 innings, ranking sixth among pitchers across that stretch. In addition to that, he has thrown 29 2/3 innings in the postseason. So, he has postseason experience pitching in big games. He hasn’t even had a DL stint since 2009. Durability was the issue the Yankees faced regarding their pitching in 2014 and Scherzer will help this immensely.

3)      Strikeouts
Scherzer is a strike out machine. Since 2012, he has averaged 10.5 K/9 tallying up 240 and 252 in the last two seasons respectively. He also leads the majors in strikeouts over the past season with 723. To combine with this, he only averages 2.5 BB/9 so he exhibits good control. Hitters swing and missed on 11.9% of his pitches since 2012 which ranks fourth.  

4)      Ace
Scherzer is the type of pitching anyone would want anchoring their staff. He has the physical demeanor of an ace standing at 6’3” and weighing 230 pounds. Scherzer is one of the more durable pitchers in baseball and can get a strikeout at any time. He’s only 30 years old which leads me to believe he has quite a few more seasons of dominance left in him.

Now, I understand that there are pros and cons to signing everyone. There’s no doubt bringing Scherzer in is going to be expensive, as it will likely take upwards of $125 million across more than 5 years or so. Despite the cost, Scherzer would be worth it to the organization and to the fan base as he would bring excitement to the Bronx in hopes of getting back to the postseason in 2015.