Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Miami Marlins (4/16-4/17)

Coming off a three game set in Detroit that was reduced to a single game after rainouts on both Saturday and Sunday, the Yankees enter this series against one of the league’s worst teams in the Miami Marlins. At 7-7, the Yanks are currently third in the AL East, while the Marlins head in at 4-11, last in the NL East. A two-game series in the Bronx, each team is looking to pick up a few wins to get back in the division race. 

Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Game 1: Monday, April 16 | First Pitch: 6:35 PM ET 
Luis Severino (2-1, 3.50 ERA) vs. Caleb Smith (0-1, 4.73 ERA) 

The Yankees ace comes in after a rough outing at Fenway Park against the Red Sox in which he surrendered eight hits and five runs in five innings of action. After the game, it was revealed that Sevy’s pitches might have been tipped, something he said he would work on before his next start. It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts, although he is facing a horrendous lineup in the Marlins so he shouldn’t have much of a problem. For the season, in three starts, Severino is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA, having dominated in his first two starts against the Blue Jays and Rays, giving up just two runs across 13 innings and striking out 14.  

The former Yankee Smith, who had a short stint with the team in the majors last year, started the season as the number two guy in the Marlins rotation, showing the abysmal status of their team. He’s somewhat held his own this season so far through three starts, including a gem in his first start of the year against the Cubs. In that start, he struck out eight across 5.1 innings while giving up only four hits and a run. Since then, in two starts against the Mets and Phillies, Smith has lasted just eight innings, allowing seven hits, six runs, seven walks, and striking out 11. Overall for the season, he’s struck out 19 hitters in 13.1 innings of work, but has struggled with his command a bit.   

Game 2: Tuesday, April 17 | First Pitch: 6:35 PM ET 
Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 5.19 ERA) vs. Jarlin Garcia (0-0, 1.13 ERA) 

Like Severino, Tanaka is looking to bounce back from a rough start against the Red Sox. In five innings, Tanaka gave up seven hits and six runs while picking up the undeserved win. He gave the Yanks quality starts in each of his first two outings however, when he struck out an impressive 15 in 12.1 innings while giving up just nine hits and four runs and not walking one batter. Known for his inconsistencies, Tanaka should bounce back well against the Marlins in this one.  

Photo Credit: Charles Krupa/AP

Starting off the season as the team’s long reliever, Jarlin Garcia has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins just three appearances in. Garcia’s first appearance of the season out of the bullpen was in the 17-inning game against the Cubs, as he gave his team a much needed six innings in relief while allowing just one hit and no runs. He then relieved Caleb Smith in his next outing before earning himself a spot in the rotation. Garcia’s first career start against the first-place Mets couldn’t have gone much better, as he had a no-hitter after six innings before being pulled. Garcia is an interesting young pitcher that could provide the Yankees hitters with a problem if he pitches the way he did last week.  

What to Watch For: 
2017 All-Stars face their former teams 
An obvious storyline in this series is Giancarlo Stanton facing his former team for the first time since joining the Yankees. That’s not the only All-Star who is facing his old team in this series, as second baseman Starlin Castro won’t be donning pinstripes when the two teams face off in the Bronx. Castro, who broke out in every facet of his game in 2017, hasn’t provided much power so far, but he’s still been productive for Miami, hitting .295 with six RBIs across 61 ABs. Stanton has endured some struggles to start the season, accumulating two five-strikeout games already. In 59 ABs, Stanton is hitting .220 with three homers and 10 RBIs, but this is the perfect series for him to turn things around. The aforementioned Caleb Smith also faces his former team, and former Yankee Garrett Cooper will miss the series as he is currently on the DL.  

Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Can the youngsters step up? 
With the absences of Aaron Hicks, Billy McKinney, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, Brandon Drury, and Greg Bird, it’s allowed youngsters Tyler Austin, Tyler Wade, and Miguel Andujar to get extended playing time. Although Austin has been somewhat of a steady mainstay at first base before receiving a five-game suspension in the wake of the Boston brawl last week, Wade and Andujar have struggled in their second major league stints. After a rough 2017, Wade looked like he was ready to turn things around with an offseason that impressed the coaching staff. Well, his 2018 has been anything but, as Wade has been totally lost at the plate, going just three-for-32 (.094) and accumulating a -0.4 WAR in 11 games played. Andujar, the Yankees fourth-ranked prospect, has similarly underperformed at the plate, as he’s five-for-32 (.156) with just two extra-base hits. He too has a negative WAR (-0.2) on the season so far, as he’s been a liability on the diamond, but his bat has shown some signs of life of late. Indeed, the Yanks have been plagued by struggles of two of their stars in Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton, but the lack of productivity at the bottom of the lineup, thanks in large part to these two, has been part of the offense’s problem in the early going. 

With what is likely the worst team in the league on paper, the Yanks shouldn’t have much of a problem against the Derek Jeter-owned Marlins. At Yankee Stadium, a sweep of the two-game set is much-needed for this Yankees team that needs a spark.  

Article by: Spencer Schultz 


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