New York Yankee Previews: Masahiro Tanaka faces Blake Snell at the Stadium tonight

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

Last night the New York Yankees swept the Boston Red Sox for the second time this season, at Yankee Stadium.  The Yankees are now the best team in baseball again. They are 16-6.  The only teams in all of baseball that comes close to that, are the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s.  But, tonight the Yankees face the Tampa Bay Rays, the team that caused them to lose their only series of the season.

This time, instead of being on the cardboard-like base paths and Astroturf of Tropicana Field in Tampa, it will be at the Stadium in the Bronx. The Yankees are coming off winning 7 games in a row, and the Rays will be coming off a day off.  The Rays did win their last outing playing the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Rays are also number 2 in the East Division behind the Yankees.

Tonight, the game will not be threatened by poor weather.  It should be a beautiful night for baseball.  The game-time temperature will be about 77 degrees, as the sun sets over the Stadium.  There is no chance of rain. The game will be televised on the YES Network, FoxSportsSun, and nationally on ESPN.

Masahiro Tanaka will take the ball for the New York Yankees. In his last appearance against the Rays eleven days ago, he pitched effectively going five innings, not allowing a run while striking out five, but nevertheless, the Yankees lost the game.  In his last outing against the Atlanta Braves, he went four innings, giving up two runs and five hits in the Yankee 6-3 win.  So far, on the season, he is 0-0 with an ERA of 2.31.  One has to consider that Tanaka is still gaining strength after taking a comebacker to the head in July. In his last outing, he relied mainly on his slider, not his four-seam fastball.

The Yankees will face the Tampa Bay Ray’s ace, Blake Snell. With Snell on the mound the last time the Yankees face him, the Rays won the game. Snell is 1-0 with an ERA of 2.08. Last year was one of his poorer years, going 6-8 with an ERA over 4.  Snell did not win a game against the Yankees last year.  In one game, he only lasts 1/3 of an inning, in a Yankee 12-1 win over the Rays. He just pitched his best game of the season against the Red Sox the day before they faced the Yankees.  Snell’s biggest problem this season is that he has never gone more than 5 innings in any game, mostly 2 or 3 innings, heavily relying on the Rays bullpen.

Wednesday night’s game will be started by Yankee ace Gerrit Cole, against a yet to be named Ray’s pitcher.  James Paxton will start the afternoon game on Thursday. The Yankees’ next series will be with the crosstown New York Mets at Citi Field, ending the Yankees longest homestand of the season.