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Bullpen Day Thrives, Yanks top Rays 4-1

Entering the last week of the regular season the Yankees opened a four-game set Monday night in the always dreaded trip to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees came into tonight sitting one and a half games (two in the loss column) above the Oakland A’s for home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game. Aaron Boone decided to go with a “bullpen day” tonight instead of giving the ball to a typical starter.

Series Preview: Detroit Tigers vs New York Yankees (8-30/9-2)

The Yankees will welcome the Detroit Tigers into the Bronx for a four-game weekend series. The clubs split a pair of games in Detroit back in June. New York is coming off a series loss to the White Sox where they only combined for three runs in their two losses. Nonetheless, the Yankees have won nine of their last 12 games. They currently sit 7.5 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East, but 4.5 up in the Wild Card. At this point, it's pretty safe to assume this club will be hosting a one-game playoff. This four-game set with the Tigers gives the Yankees a chance to bounce back and put three or four more wins on the board.


Game One: Thursday, August 30th 7:05 PM EST.
J.A. Happ (15-6, 3.80 ERA) vs Francisco Liriano (3-9, 4.82 ERA)

Since coming over to the Yankees in late July, J.A. Happ has been nothing but fantastic. In five starts, Happ is 5-0 with a 2.37 ERA and .185 BA against. He has gone at least six innings in all but one start. On the season, Happ has a WHIP of 1.122 which ranks tenth among qualified AL starting pitchers. Seven of the projected Tigers hitters in Thursday night’s lineup have faced Happ, and they have a combined for a .317 averaged in 82 at bats. This may be a cause for concern, but either way Yankee fans should be happy sending Happ out on Thursday night.

The 34 year-old lefty is coming into Thursday night’s game looking to pick up his first win since April. Liriano has not had a quality start since July 4th and the Tigers have a 6-14 record in Liriano’s 20 starts in 2018. The Yankees should look to get after him early and often as a deep bullpen day in game one of a four-game set could be detrimental to Detroit. Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and surprisingly Shane Robinson have all had success against Liriano. They are a combined 15-for-44 (.341) with eight RBIs.

Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Game Two: Friday, August 31st 7:00 PM EST.
Luis Severino (17-6, 3.27 ERA) vs Jordan Zimmermann (6-6, 4.38 ERA)

The Yankees ace will take the hill Friday night looking to get back on track. Severino has not looked like himself since early July. Over his last nine starts, Sevy is 5-4 with a 6.56 ERA and a .325 BA against. He has struggled with command, averaging 3.4 BB/9 over his last six outings and has only given the Yanks two quality starts since July 1st. Though he has a solid chance to win his third straight start on Friday night, as he faces the 27th ranked offense in baseball. Hopefully a strong start allows him to turn the corner into September.

Jordan Zimmerman has been up-and-down throughout the 2018 campaign. He has the ability to go out there and throw eight shutout innings, but he has also been known to give up a few long balls. He is coming off a start where he gave up eight hits and five runs in six innings pitched. Giancarlo Stanton has seen some past success against Zimmerman as the two faced off a lot in the NL East. Stanton is a career 7-for-32 (.219) against the two-time all-star, but has three home runs and six RBIs to hang his hat on.

Game Three: Saturday, September 1st 4:05 PM EST.
Masahiro Tanaka (9-5, 3.97 ERA) vs UNDECIDED

Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound on Saturday afternoon looking for his first win since July. In five stars in the month of August, Tanaka was 0-3 with a 4.40 ERA. In his previous start, Tanaka sailed through the first five innings but ran into some late inning trouble, finishing with a line of seven IP and four ER. One can hope a breakout start may be coming soon, as five Tiger starters who have faced Tanaka are a combined 11-for-41 (.269) with two home runs and nine strikeouts. This should give Yankee fans some sense of hope this Saturday.

Photo Credit: AP
Game Four: Sunday, September 2nd 1:05 PM EST.
Lance Lynn (8-9, 4.84 ERA vs Matthew Boyd (8-12, 4.22 ERA)

Lance Lynn has been streaky in his six appearances for the Yanks. In his first three outings in pinstripes, Lynn yielded just one run over 16.2 innings pitched. Over his last three, he's given up 13 earned runs over 15 IP. He will look to bounce back in a Sunday matinee against a weak offense. On the Twins, Lynn faced the Tigers twice earlier in 2018. He went 1-1 and tallied 6.2 innings pitched allowing zero earned runs in his lone win.

Matthew Boyd is in his third full season in the bigs but is still trying to find his groove. His 4.22 ERA and nearly three walks per nine are high, but he tends to rack up a good number of strikeouts with his wipeout slider. His fastball is typically in the low 90s, but a similarly paced sinker is what Yankee hitters should be aware of. Boyd is coming off an outing against the Royals where he was roughed up for seven hits and five runs. The Yankee lineup should get after Boyd early and often.

Players to Watch for:
Yankees:
Miguel Andujar: Andujar has been on a tear lately, making his case for AL Rookie of the Year stronger by the day. Over his last 15, Miggy is slashing .349/.364/.683 with five home runs, six doubles, and 18 RBI. His OPS over this stretch is 1.046, which would rank fourth in the league. Andujar has been consistent all year and is typically the catalyst for the Yanks when things are not going well.

Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/ NY Post
Tigers:
Nick Castellanos: Castellanos has been Detroit’s best and most consistent hitter all year. He is hitting .292 with 19 HR and 73 RBI. Over his last six games, Castellanos is 9-for-24 (.375) with an OPS of 1.006. He typically hits out of the three hole, and should be the guy the Yankee pitchers target.

Article by: Shane Black

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