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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.

Yankee bats come alive against Fulmer as the Yankees beat the Tigers 7-3 in the series opener

On a day where the Yankees made a huge trade deadline splash, two young, dynamic pitchers faced off in the Bronx. Luis Severino started off slow, but bested Michael Fulmer as the Yankees rallied off Fulmer in the fourth inning for four runs. The bullpen kept the Tigers’ offense quiet, and the Yankees continued to rake in the later innings as they scored seven runs off of the Tigers’ staff.

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens | AP

The Detroit Tigers struck first in the fourth inning when James McCann laced a ball to right field where a diving Aaron Judge just barely couldn't get to the ball. McCann was on with a double and the score was 1-0 Detroit. Ronald Torreyes would then commit an error on a slow chopper off the bat of Jose Iglesias, but it didn’t lead to a run scoring as it was kept in the infield. Ian Kinsler would fail to take advantage of the miscue as he popped up to Judge in right to end the inning.

The sloppy play was contagious as a walk to Aaron Judge and an error by Ian Kinsler on a potential double play ball off the bat of Gary Sanchez put runners on first and second with no outs for the meat of the Yankees’ lineup. Matt Holliday would then work a walk to load the bases for Chase Headley. Headley has been scorching hot since moving to first base and that continued as he mashed a double to plate two runs and give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Todd Frazier followed suit with a two-run single to extend the Yankees’ lead to three runs.

Luis Severino had flashes of pure dominance, but labored for most of the night as he battled against many Tiger hitters and consistently got into deep counts. After walking two batters with two outs in the fifth, the Yankees’ ace struck out Victor Martinez on his season-high 116th pitch of the night. Despite his lack of length, Severino gave the Yankees a solid performance that could then be turned over to their masterful bullpen.

Aaron Judge gave the Yankees an insurance run when he blasted a solo home run in the bottom half of the fifth to make the score 5-1, before a Yankee reliever ever took the mound.
Photo Credit: Kathy Willens | AP

Tommy Kahnle plunked a disgruntled Mikie Mahtook and then let up a base hit to James McCann to lead off the sixth inning. The early inning jam hurt Kahnle as he allowed a bloop single to Jim Adduci, which cut the Tigers’ deficit to three runs. Nevertheless, he prevented a big inning and kept the Yankees at a comfortable lead.

The Yankees missed a two-run home run by inches in the sixth inning as Adduci robbed Todd Frazier of an opposite field home run.

Ellsbury was drilled to lead off the seventh inning as “retaliation” for a few pitches that got away from Luis Severino and Tommy Kahnle. Ellsbury proceeded to steal second and then score after a Clint Frazier triple. Gary Sanchez then hit a sacrifice fly to extend the Yankee lead to five runs.

Jonathan Holder pitched a scoreless eighth and came on for the ninth, but loaded the bases making the game a save situation. Aroldis Chapman came on and allowed an inherited runner to score on a fielder's choice, but eventually struck out McCann to secure the 7-3 victory for the Bombers.

The Yankees will look to secure a series win tomorrow night as CC Sabathia (9-3 3.66 ERA) opposes Anibal Sanchez (2-1 6.18 ERA) at 7:05 PM ET in the Bronx.

Winning Pitcher: Luis Severino (8-4, 2.98 ERA) 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 0 HR
Losing Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (10-8, 3.46 ERA) 6 +IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR
Save: Aroldis Chapman (13)


Chase Headley 3-4 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R
Aaron Judge 1-2 1 HR(34), 1 RBI, 1 R
Todd Frazier 1-4 2 RBI
Clint Frazier 1-4 1 3B, 1 R

Article by: Ryan Thoms