Ryan Yarbrough Takes On Toughest Test Of Season

Tampa Bay's southpaw is trending upwards, but squares off against a dominant Astros offense tonight

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The Tampa Bay Rays have won 10 of the last 11 games that Ryan Yarbrough has appeared in, dating back to June 23rd. 

To put that into perspective, the Houston Astros have won nine of Gerrit Cole’s last 11 starts. The Washington Nationals have won 10 of Max Scherzer's 21 starts dating back to Opening Day.

You may be asking yourself who this Yarbrough guy is, but you should probably pay attention to what he’s been up to on the mound.

Either deployed as a starter or a bulk reliever, Yarbrough’s ascension has been key for the Rays. The 27-year-old southpaw has thrown 24.0 innings so far in August and has allowed just 13 hits and two earned runs (0.75 ERA) while punching out 28 and walking just one batter. Tampa Bay has won all four of the games he has appeared in and has been victorious in six-straight dating back to the middle of last month. 

During an early-season demotion to Triple-A, Yarbrough worked on the development of his third and fourth pitches and now utilizes an effective four-pitch mix as shown on the graphic below:

All of them feature movement (he throws cutters and sinkers instead of a straight fastball in addition to a changeup and curveball) and that has kept hitters guessing. 

While Cole has been fantastic and the Astros have been incredible at home this season (50-16), it’s worth noting how dominant Yarbrough has been recently as well. The Astros opened as -210 favorites.

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