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NEW YORK — When Gary Sanchez reached base after snapping a lengthy skid with a bases-clearing double Youth Mark Walton Jersey , he reacted as if a significant weight was lifted off his shoulders.
This has been the worst stretch of Sanchez’s 234-game career, and while he still is slumping to the tune of four hits in his last 59 at-bats, the New York Yankees are hoping their catcher gets rolling.
After ending a 0-for-17 slide Friday, Sanchez looks to help the Yankees to a third straight win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees (45-20) are 12-3 in their last 15 games after a 5-0 win on Friday. Sanchez grounded out three times before following an intentional walk to Giancarlo Stanton with a double to right field off Jonny Venters.
“It definitely felt great,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “It’s been a while since I’ve been able to contribute.”
Sanchez’s hit ended his night at .188. His average has dropped from .231 in his last 17 games.
Since his average peaked, Sanchez has driven in five runs.
“Honestly, with Gary, I really feel like it’s every at-bat, it could be turning around,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I feel like he’s close, he’s fighting it, wanting it so bad.”
Sanchez might be the designated hitter Saturday since it’s a day game after a night game, but if he catches Cassius Marsh Color Rush Jersey , he will be helping Luis Severino attempt to get to his 10th win.
Severino (9-2, 2.27 ERA)is pitching one day before the 40th anniversary of Ron Guidry’s team-record 18-strikeout game against the Los Angeles Angels. On Thursday, Guidry said he believed Severino could be the one to break the mark.
“He’s got the ability to push 20, 21,” Guidry said. “I sit down, and we watch a lot — my wife and I — we watch a lot of games. And I’ve already told her that he’s going to have a night.”
Maybe so, but when presented with Guidry’s praise, Severino was modest about it and conceded “there was no chance.”
“It gives me confidence but to strike out 18 people in a game, that’s a lot of strikeouts,” Severino said.
He already has amassed a lot of strikeouts even before Guidry weighed in. His 109 strikeouts are sixth in the American League.
Severino is coming off a rare loss when he allowed a two-run homer to former teammate Todd Frazier among five hits in five innings of a 2-0 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday at Citi Field. It was his first loss since April 10 at Boston.
Severino is 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in seven home starts this season. He also is 8-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last 11 home starts. It is the longest streak of consecutive home starts without a team loss since 1999, matching Masahiro Tanaka’s 11-game streak.
The 24-year-old right-hander is 6-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 11 appearances (seven starts) against the Rays.
The Rays are 4-11 in their last 15 games and are on an eight-game road losing streak after getting four hits Friday. They also have struck out 25 times in the first two games and are 2-12 in their last 14 games at Yankee Stadium.
Tampa Bay (32-37) gave Friday off to Carlos Gomez and C.J. Cron, and manager Kevin Cash is hoping they can start producing.
Gomez is batting .138 (8-for-58) in 18 games since returning from a right groin strain last month and Cron has 10 strikeouts in a 0-for-12 skid.
“I’m trying to get him rested,” Cash said of Gomez. “I don’t know if going every other day or picking a little bit more days off for him might help him a little bit. He plays so hard when he is out there http://www.packersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-jackson-jersey , give his body a blow and see if it freshens him up.”
Tampa Bay will use a reliever as its “opening pitcher” for the 20th time. Ryne Stanek (1-1, 2.76 ERA) will do it for the fifth time this season, but Cash said Ryan Yarbrough will get the bulk of the innings.
Stanek’s last “start” was Monday when he struck out three and threw 27 pitches in two innings. None of his “starts” have lasted more than two innings. The right-hander has not thrown more than 40 pitches in those outings.
And for the Rays by now the novelty has worn off.
“I think they’ve handled it really well,” Cash said. “I think the novelty or whatever you want to call it was gone after the first day.”
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two pitchers who figure to have big rooting audiences are scheduled to go head-to-head Wednesday night when the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics continue their three-game series.
The Astros got the jump on the A’s in the series opener Tuesday, winning 6-3 on the strength of Evan Gattis‘ career-best five RBIs and Lance McCullers Jr.’s strong seven-inning outing.
In an attempt to beat the A’s for the seventh time in eight meetings this season, the Astros will send right-hander Gerrit Cole (7-1, 2.16 ERA) to face Oakland righty Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.50).
Cole, a native of Newport Beach, Calif., near Los Angeles, has pitched brilliantly in his home state in his major league career. The UCLA product Youth Denzel Ward Jersey , who spent his first five seasons pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates before getting dealt to the Astros over the winter, has gone 9-2 when pitching in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland.
He’s 14-6 overall against the five California teams.
The 27-year-old joined the San Francisco Bay Area family on Nov. 12, 2016, when he married Amy Crawford, the sister of Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. Both Amy and Brandon attended Amador Valley High in Pleasanton, Calif., an Oakland suburb.
Cole didn’t disappoint his new fans when he pitched six strong innings, allowing one run and four hits, in a 4-1 win at Oakland on May 9. It improved his career record to 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA in three starts against the A’s.
Cole once again will have to deal with A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who attended Amador Valley at the same time as the Crawfords. Piscotty has gone 6-for-21 with two doubles in his career against Cole.
Blackburn, meanwhile Youth Connor Williams Jersey , starred at Heritage High in Brentwood, Calif., which is about 40 miles northeast of Oakland.
Blackburn, acquired from the Seattle Mariners last season, has made six starts for the A’s in Oakland, including one this season.
He pitched brilliantly in that lone 2018 Oakland start Thursday after being promoted from Triple-A, limiting the Kansas City Royals to one run and three hits in six innings in a 4-1 victory.
Blackburn has never lost a home start for the A’s, going 2-0 in his six outings.
He has never faced the Astros.
The 24-year-old admitted the season debut coupled with his family and friends in attendance nearly got the better of him in his last start.
“I’m not usually like that,” he insisted. “I have nerves coming into every start, but not like this was. I think it was excitement.”
Blackburn will have to deal with another A’s opponent who still commands a favorable reception in Oakland when he goes against Astros outfielder Josh Reddick.
Reddick, one of the A’s clubhouse leaders during his five seasons in Oakland, was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2016 in a deal that brought impressive young right-hander Frankie Montas to the A’s.
Reddick had two hits and scored twice Tuesday and is 4-for-11 versus the A’s in Oakland this season.


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