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Devil Rays at Yankees Preview Article


Man Crush on Kyle Guy
Devil Rays Bring Their Sting To Yankee Stadium For Tuesday Upset

Tampa Bay (43-29) at New York Yankees (44-27)

When: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET

MLB Pick: Devil Rays ML

Reliever Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.45 ERA) will open for Tampa Bay. He's yielding a 1.71 ERA in his "starter" role, compared to 5.19 as a reliever (who appears after the first inning). After a few outs, southpaw Ryan Yarbrough (5-3, 5.59 ERA) will pitch the majority of innings. Yarbrough is in a bounce-back situation. In his career, he is 6-0 in the game immediately following a loss.

Yarbrough is unique in that none of his pitches average more than 89 mph. He throws four different ones with between 15 and 35 percent frequency: a fastball, slider, cutter, and change-up. His slider and cutter are his most effective pitches. Opponents hit .120 against the former and .209 against the latter and Yarbrough increases the frequency of both pitches when runners enter scoring position.

His slider's strong movement makes it only a real candidate for left-handed batters, who he throws it to 42% of the time overall and 52% with RISP. It's elusive with pure slide that lacks any hanging movement. It's also tricky with an intense 14 mph velocity differential relative to his "fastest" pitch, the fastball. Yarbrough's cutter features effective dip and consistent placement along the borders of the strike zone.

Besides movement, sequencing/variety is another strength of Yarbrough. He doesn't rely on one pitch too often in a given scenario, keeping him less predictable. His command is another strength. Based on pitch frequency, he evenly distributes his stuff across the strike zone and favors the borders. His precision is especially impressive because he walks only 1.68 batters per nine innings.

In 38 at-bats, the Yankees are hitting .184 against Yarbrough. Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Brett Gardner are combined 3-for-19 (.157). Overall, the Yankees rank 25th in slugging against lefties and are yielding -6.4 units against southpaw starters.

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New York's J.A. Happ (6-3, 4.66 ERA) has regressed. Last year, his ERA was 1.01 lower. This year, he's striking out his fewest number of batters per nine innings since 2010. Additionally, he's allowing 2.03 homers per nine innings, which is almost double his career average. He's conceded at least one homer in 13 of his 14 starts.

A misleading trend is that Happ is yielding positive units. His profitability only reflects how easy his list of opponents has been. 11 of them have losing records. Against the three winning opponents, he yielded an FIP (like ERA, but factors out fielding) of 4.98 against Boston, 7.76 against Minnesota, and 6.49 against Boston.

Happ relies mostly on his fastball, which he throws 48 percent of the time. It's worrisome that Happ is unable to execute his favorite pitch--opponents slug .643 against it. His fastball suffers especially from poor location. For instance, he throws it with 7.68 percent frequency down the middle. His location suffers even more when he falls behind in the count, which happens more often because his overall strike and first-pitch strike percentages lie below his career average. His fastball's average spin and mediocre movement can't redeem it.

The Devil Rays have an unfair reputation against left-handed pitching because their home ballpark is one in which lefties hit .15 lower than righties. They perform better on the road, which is why Tampa Bay is 7-3 away against lefties, compared to 8-7 at home.

Tonight's key trend is that, dating to the second half of last season, Tampa Bay is 5-0 in its first game after being shut out. Look for Tommy Pham to help light up the scoreboard. He's batting .393 in his past seven days. Fellow righty Avisail Garcia is 3-for-9 (.333) with two homers against Happ. The Rays' second-best bullpen in terms of ERA will secure the lead.


Man Crush on Kyle Guy
Yarbrough was pitching great. Why is this bum in after only three innings from Y and of course he's getting shelled cause he's a fucking LOSER


Man Crush on Kyle Guy
Why is Tampa putting in so many garbage relievers with gigantic era‘s. Still not getting why Y only pitched three innings. I was expecting 6-7 (after one from Stanek) and he was looking great

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