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Series Preview: 4/13-4/15 New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays

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4/13: Chien-Ming Wang v. Scott Kazmir (7:08 FSN FL)

4/14: A.J. Burnett v. Matt Garza (7:08 SS)

4/15: Andy Pettitte v. Andy Sonnanstine (4:08 SS)

Alas, the Rays are finally home. Monday's a big occasion and so is this series. As I've repeated before, going ~.500 against the Yankees and Red Sox would be a nice way of keeping yourself in the race. For the most part that involves winning the home series.

Wang's groundball tendencies almost always give us issues. Over the last three years his strikeout rate has ranged from crappy (3.14 in 2006) to eh (5.12) to uh (4.70) and his walk rates have climbed every season. Batters have consistently made better contact with Wang's pitches as well, since his line drive rates have increased at every turn. Wang uses his heavy fastball around 80% of the time, with a slider, change, and split fingered pitch mixed in; sliders to righties and changes to lefties.

Burnett is one of the more underrated pitchers around. Yeah, there are some injury concerns, but over the last three years Burnett has posted FIPs of 3.79, 4.33, and 3.45. Burnett has improved his control since his Florida days by quite a bit, averaging 3.6 BB9 and less since 2004. Burnett torched the guns last time out, averaging 96 miles per hour on his fastball and only used his curve, no change-ups. If that sounds a lot like Josh Beckett to you, well you're not alone.

Pettitte relies on his change-up (79), curve (76), cutter (82), and fastball (89) to muscle past opposing hitters. Over the last three years his O-Swing% against has risen with his age. Contact% dropped to a post-2002 low of 73%. His career average is closer to 80, which makes me question just how legitimate Pettitte's chances of repeating his 2008 are, but we'll see.

C Jorge Posada
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Cody Ransom
LF Johnny Damon
CF Brett Gardner
RF Xavier Nady
DH Hideki Matsui

Not quite what you would expect from the Yankees. Re-signing Posada to a big year following an unlikely huge year was pretty silly at the time and in retrospect. Old catchers get injuries? Never! Ransom answers the question of whether the Yankees would be better without Alex Rodriguez. Hopefully they see this as a positive and void Rodriguez' contract like so many delusional Yankees fans wanted. As we all know, the one thing the Yankees have over other teams is their history of outstanding moral compass.