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The Yankees return to the Bronx after a short three-game road trip down south to face off against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Trop. Round 1 went to Tampa, as they took two of three against New York.

That performance dropped the Bombers to 18-17 on the season and now 10 games back of the Rays in the AL East standings. Before hosting Tampa at Yankee Stadium for a four-game set this weekend, the Yankees get a chance to get right against the Oakland Athletics. You know, the team with ownership that’s actively trying to lose?

It’s working so far, as Oakland’s 8-27 record is the worst in baseball. Here’s what the probable pitching matchups look like.

Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET: Nestor Cortes vs. JP Sears

Nasty Nestor gets himself back on the hill Monday night after a bout of strep throat. The last time he pitched was on April 30th in Texas. He allowed seven runs on five hits (three homers) in 4.2 innings. He did strike out seven, but he also walked four hitters. Cortes faced the Athletics twice in 2022 (one start) and produced a 3.24 ERA across 8.1 innings.

JP Sears has a 5.06 ERA so far this year. However, he’s coming off his best start of the young season. While facing the Mariners, he allowed four hits and two walks while striking out seven across six shutout innings. Sears has pitched against the Yankees once in his career, allowing three runs on eight hits and four walks in six innings.

Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET: Clarke Schmidt vs. Drew Rucinski

For the fourth time in seven starts, Clarke Schmidt failed to complete five innings in his last appearance on the mound, which came against the Guardians. He did lower his season-long ERA by over a full run to 5.83, though, after allowing two runs in 4.1 frames. In his only career start vs. Oakland, Schmidt allowed four runs on eight hits, which was also in 4.1 innings.

Rucinski has started two games for the A’s so far this year, and neither has gone well. He’s surrendered 10 runs (eight earned) on 15 hits in just 9.1 innings of work. He’s also walked six hitters while striking out four.

Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. ET: Jhony Brito vs. Kyle Muller

Since the shellacking he took against the Twins earlier this year, Jhony Brito has been better on the mound. In fact, he’s been the definition of “OK”. Especially for a 25-year-old rookie who wasn’t expected to be racking up big-league innings earlier this season. His most recent start was against the Rays. He allowed four runs on six hits (two homers) in four innings.

Kyle Muller has a 6.62 ERA through seven starts in 2023. He’s also allowed a league-leading 48 hits in 34 innings of work. He has lasted at least five innings in five of his starts, but three of them have included at least five earned runs allowed. That includes Muller’s last start against the Royals. The hurler allowed five runs on eight hits, three walks, and one strikeout in 5.1 frames.

You can reach Matt Musico at You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.