Game 85: Four games until the break

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It’s easy to take your eye off the prize at this point in the year. Every player sees the All-Star break not too far away on the horizon, either meaning a nice vacation or a trip to Cleveland for a select few. Gleyber Torres just found out he’s heading to the All-Star Game earlier today.

The Yankees, however, don’t have the luxury of taking these games lightly. They head into play with a 6.5 game lead in the AL East, 8 games in the loss column, but they play the Rays in eight of their next 11 games book-ending the break. That gives Tampa Bay plenty of room to catch up.

This is the closest the Yankees have come to running away with the division this early in at least a decade, making these games important for both sides. If you want to know more about the Rays, here’s my series preview.

Here are the lineups for Thursday’s season opener:

Yankees (55-29)

  1. DJ LeMahieu, 3B
  2. Aaron Hicks, CF
  3. Gary Sanchez, C
  4. Didi Gregorius, SS
  5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  6. Gleyber Torres, 2B
  7. Mike Ford, 1B
  8. Mike Tauchman, RF
  9. Brett Gardner, LF

LHP J.A. Happ

Rays (50-37)

  1. Yandy Diaz, 1B
  2. Tommy Pham, LF
  3. Austin Meadows, DH
  4. Avisail Garcia, RF
  5. Michael Brousseau, 3B
  6. Willy Adames, SS
  7. Joey Wendle, 2B
  8. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  9. Guillermo Heredia, CF

RHP Yonny Chirinos

Notes

  • Just a normal day off for Aaron Judge. Aaron Boone said he plans to give players games off in the coming days.
  • Gio Urshela underwent an MRI on his left glute after limping through a home-run trot yesterday. Results apparently came back clean and he’s set to arrive in Tampa soon. He played the rest of the game after the apparent injury and still made a standout defensive play.
  • Greg Bird’s rehab is going “slow” as he recovers from plantar fascitis. Get well soon, Birdy!
  • Mike Ford gets the start on his 27th birthday.

The game is at 5:10 p.m. on YES. It’s a domed stadium, so no worries about rain delay (though there was a lighting issue last time in Tampa). Enjoy the day off!

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1 Comment

  1. CountryClub

    I don’t think it would have been an issue with this group anyway. But, playing Tampa should ensure that they take these games seriously.

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