New York (80-62) at Rays (60-84)
7:15; Tropicana Field
How good does an 11 inning win feel? Well, IMHO, it feels good enough to cancel out the two previous losses to the Jays. Alright, so I didn't go to Friday's game, and yes, I did only listen to one inning on the radio. But the point is, that 11 inning affair was, probably, the most exciting Rays game I have attended since the Boston series in late July. You were on the edge of your seat for pretty much the enitre final five innings, and the action before that wasn't a snoozer either. This is further proof that a well-pitched game can be a fun and exciting one, and hopefully we can take the Yankees without too much excitement. This will be our final meeting with the "mighty" Bronx Bombers until next spring, and having already taken the season series, the Rays need to take this one to keep intact a perfect record in the six series in which the two teams have played. They tied one to go along with four series wins. I myself will not make it to the Trop this week or next, and with hoards of Yankees and Red Sox fans attending, I won't strive to make it. Let's send the Yankees home-FROM THE PLAYOFFS with a sweep!!!!!
NYY-RH Jaret Wright (4-2, 5.76)
Rays-RH Doug Waechter (5-9, 5.04)
BREAKDOWN: Well, I tried one game with player photos, so I'll leave it up to you guys as to whether I continue with that (vote in the poll below by clicking 'Entry Link' below the post). Anyways, the Rays get a good draw in the pitching matchup today, as multimillion dollar bust Jaret Wright takes the hill against Dougie Waechter. Wright was on the DL for nearly four months of the season, and the Yankees may "accidentally" DL him for the stretch with those numbers, further proof of WLRMN-Win-Loss Records Mean Nothing. This will be Wright's fourth start against the Rays this year, he has had one awful start, one bad start, and one good start. That bad start came last week, in Wright's last time out against the Rays, in which he surrendered four runs on eight hits in 6.2 IP, but the worst part is his K:BB, which, for the game, was 0.5. Yes, that's right, he walked four while K'ing 2. If he hopes to last the first couple innings of this one, he needs to hit the zone. To his credit, wright has pitched well since coming off the DL, but if he keeps pitching like he did last time out against the Rays, he will find himself struggling again.
The Rays counter Wright with everybody's favorite Viking, Doug Waechter. Last time out against New York, Dougie pitched fairly well, save for the times he faced Hideki Matsui. Dougie went 5.1 innings, leaving with a one run lead. But the story is familiar, and you can guess what happened from there. His problem continues to be the long ball, which he has served up 25 times. He has struggled somewhat in two September starts, but if he can revert back to his August form, which, by the way, included a very impressive nine inning outing against New York, Dougie has a very good shot at finishing the year with an ERA close to 4.50, but if he gives up the long ball continuously, he could be in for a loooooong month.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The bottom line is simple. Wright needs to get better control of his command, and Waechter needs to stop leaving pitches up in the zone. Even if these two do fufill these goals, this is a matchup of two of the best AL offenses. Don't expect a very long competition of "Who will be the last one to give up a hit", rather "Can either of them reach five innings". So expect lots of offense, but if Dougie can limit his contributions to the other team, the Rays offense will take it from there. Come on guys, let's send the Yanks back to the Vinoy crying!