Dueling aces in Tampa as Yankees visit Rays
(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees occupy the top two spots in the AL East Division. They also share the major league co-leaders in pitching wins.
And they're not Luis Severino and Blake Snell, who combined for 40 victories last season.
Instead, Domingo German and Tyler Glasnow -- the starters Friday night when the Yankees visit the Rays for the opener of a three-game series -- have a combined 12 wins thus far in 2019.
Minnesota's Jose Berrios also shares the major league lead with six wins.
German is filling in capably while Severino recovers from right shoulder cuff inflammation that likely keeps him out until after the All-Star break. German entered the season with a 2-7 record and a 5.22 ERA and recorded a 5.57 ERA in 21 appearances last season. This year, however, he is 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA in seven appearances (six starts).
The right-hander won his career-high third straight start when he allowed one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings in Sunday's 4-1 win over Minnesota. He retired the first eight batters he faced and threw a career-high 108 pitches.
"He's been to this point one of the better pitchers in the game," Yankees manager Aaron Boone recently told reporters of German.
Glasnow entered this season 4-16 with a 5.35 ERA in 67 career appearances (28 starts) for Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. He made 11 of those starts for the Rays last season after being acquired from the Pirates along with outfielder Austin Meadows for Chris Archer.
After going 1-5 with a 4.20 ERA for Tampa Bay last season, Glasnow is 6-0 with a league-best 1.47 ERA so far this season.
Glasnow last pitched Friday when he matched a career high by going seven innings at Baltimore and allowed three hits in a 7-0 win. He retired the first 11 hitters, did not allow a walk, faced two above the minimum and struck out eight in turning in his third scoreless outing this year.
"It doesn't look like very much fun stepping into the batter's box against him right now," Rays manager Kevin Cash recently told the media.
Neither pitcher has extensive experience against his opponent.
German is 1-0 with a 7.36 ERA in three career outings (two starts) against Tampa Bay. Glasnow's lone appearance against New York occurred in Pittsburgh on April 21, 2017, when he allowed three runs (one earned) in 4 2/3 innings.
The Yankees sit only 1 1/2 games behind the Rays, as both teams have capitalized on Boston's slow start.
"I really don't look necessarily as a measuring stick," Boone said of the opener against the Rays. "I look at it as an important game against a division rival that's a really good team. I look at as we got to go put our best foot forward and play well."
Tampa Bay may be getting some help to its lineup as Meadows could come off the injured list after missing 15 games with a right thumb sprain. The timing would help as the Rays may be without catcher Mike Zunino, who injured his left quadriceps in the eighth inning Wednesday.
The Yankees are 16-6 in their last 22 games since April 16 despite injuries to prominent names such as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, who are not close to returning.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 10, 2019