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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.

Yankees bats come alive behind another Severino gem to knock off Cleveland

The Yankees came into this game hoping that Luis Severino could lead them to a second straight win to salvage a series tie going into the off day. The hot topic going into the game was the controversial benching of catcher Gary Sanchez by Joe Girardi who cited defensive issues as the reason for benching him. After a slow start and an early one run deficit, the Bronx Bombers were able to break open the game off a bases clearing triple from Jacoby Ellsbury during a five run sixth inning. Three more runs after that would be enough with another stellar outing from young ace Severino.

Photo Credit: David Maxwell/Getty Images

The game didn’t start too promising for the Yankees, after a first inning home run by Michael Brantley. The offense continued to struggle not recording a hit until a fourth inning single by Didi Gregorius. However, Severino was able to keep the Yanks down just one run going into the sixth inning; they were able to get men on second and third with no outs after a Brett Gardner single and Clint Frazier double. It started to feel like the bats were due to break out, and that they did. After a sac fly by Chase Headley and a hard earned walk by Todd Frazier, much maligned Jacoby Ellsbury hit an off the wall double to put the Yankees up 4-1. Torreyes was able to add another run that inning off a left field single, and Yankees seemed to have put the game away early.

However, the scoring was not yet over, as the struggling Aaron Judge was able to hit a frozen rope to right field for a three run home run, putting New York up 8-1 heading into the seventh inning stretch. The outstanding pitching continued to the bullpen with Tommy Kahnle, Adam Warren, and Chasen Shreve combining for two and a third hitless innings to close out the victory.

Photo Credit: AP

Severino was able to overcome the early home run to strike out five out of his first seven batters faced, and the young righty should be seriously discussed in the AL Cy Young conversation this year. In his five starts since the break, Sevy has only allowed three ER with 38 K in 32.2 IP. It seemed like the whole team broke out of their slump today, with only Austin Romine not recording a hit.

The Yankees get an off day as they travel to Toronto to face division rival Blue Jays in a three game series. CC Sabathia (9-4, 3.81 ERA) takes the mound to face off against J.A. Happ (4-8, 3.92 ERA) with first pitch at 7:07 PM ET on YES. The team will hope to gain some speed going into a crucial stretch of games where they face the Red Sox and Mets in back to back series.

Winning Pitcher: Luis Severino (9-5, 2.91 ERA) 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Losing Pitcher: Carlos Carrasco (10-5, 4.06 ERA) 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-4, R, 3B, 3 RBI
Ronald Torreyes: 2-4, 1 RBI
Didi Gregorius: 3-5, R
Aaron Judge: 1-4, 2 R, HR (35), 3 RBI, BB
Clint Frazier: 1-4, 2 R, 2B, BB
Article by: Maxx Hotton