Nick Senzel looks to take a bite out of the Big Apple as the Reds battle the Yankees

New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Previewing the matchups: Reds vs. Yankees

Cincinnati Reds starter Graham Ashcraft vs. New York Yankees starter Gerrit Cole

Graham Ashcraft (4-2 4.35 ERA) gets the call in tonight's opener while New York counters with Gerrit Cole (8-2 3.26 ERA). If there's one word that defines the Cincinnati rookie throughout his first two months in the major leagues, it's tenacity.

Employing the classic bend but don't break method, the 24-year-old right-hander allowed 10 hits in six innings against the Mets in his last outing but miraculously allowed only two runners to dent the plate. Even though Ashcraft doesn't miss many bats, just 29 Ks in 49.2 frames, he also doesn't beat himself. The Alabama native has issued just nine free passes in his nine starts.

Let's be honest. The Cincinnati Reds own Gerrit Cole. In 13 career starts versus the Reds, the former Pittsburgh Pirate is 1-8 with a 4.68 ERA. Don't be surprised to see Tommy Pham do some damage tonight. Cincinnati's left fielder is 10-for-24 with two doubles and a homer versus the Yankee right-hander.

Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Minor vs. New York Yankees starter Luis Severino

Southpaw Mike Minor (1-6 6.63 ERA) toes the rubber Wednesday night as Luis Severino (5-3 3.11 ERA) receives the nod for Aaron Boone's club. Are you looking for some optimism Reds Country? I have you covered.

In four outings lifetime versus the Yankees, the Cincinnati left-hander is 2-1 with a sparkling 3.12 ERA. Additionally, Mike Minor appears to be DJ LeMahieu's greatest nightmare. New York's two-time batting champion has collected just two hits in 17 at-bats against the veteran Reds hurler.

Cincinnati will have their hands full with Luis Severino. Over his last seven outings, the 27-year-old right-hander has fanned at least eight in four of those appearances. In addition, Severino keeps the ball in the yard. He's allowed just one homer in his last 18 frames.

Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo vs. New York Yankees starter Nestor Cortes

Wednesday night's series finale will feature two-time All-Star Luis Castillo (3-4 2.92 ERA) opposing Nestor Cortes (7-3 2.74 ERA) of the Yankees. Even though he missed the first month of the season, La Piedra has been everything the Reds hoped for and more.

Tossing 71 innings, the Dominican right-hander has fanned 74 and only yielded five gopher balls. How good has Castillo been in his last three appearances? How about 20 frames of two-run baseball with 24 punch outs good. An All-Star performance indeed.

While the numbers overall are impressive, there's reason to believe the Reds are catching southpaw Nestor Cortes at the right time. Over his last 19 innings, the 27-year-old has surrendered seven round-trippers. Look for Cincinnati manager David Bell to load his lineup card with right-handed bats. A dozen of the 13 home runs Cortes has allowed have come against righties.