The New York Yankees (54-48) will host the Tampa Bay Rays (60-42) in a three game weekend series. The Rays come into the series fresh and rested after having their contest with the Boston Red Sox rained out on Thursday evening while the Yankees come home from Arlington where they defeated the Texas Rangers to complete their 7-game post all-star game road trip with a record of 3-4.
The Yankees have an all-time record against the Rays of 163-103, 89-42 at home, and 24-16 at new Yankee Stadium. This will be the 4th series of the season between the two teams with the season series all even at 5-5. The Rays have won 11 of the last 20 contests overall and are 19-13 head to head dating back to September 22, 2011. The Yankees have won 12 of their last 18 and 14 of the last 21 home meetings between the clubs.
The pitching matchups for this weekend will be Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62) vs CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.37 ERA) tonight at 7:05, Chris Archer (5-3, 2.76 ERA) vs Ivan Nova (4-3. 3.66 ERA) on Saturday at 1:05, and Matt Moore (14-3, 3.17 ERA) vs Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.33 ERA) on Sunday at 1:05.
The Yankees have been trying to score runs without the benefit of the home run. They have hit one home run in their last 10 games (Ichiro Suzuki on 7/14 vs . Minnesota), four homers in their last 18 games (since July 3rd), and eight homers in their last 24 games (since June 27).
The have had one multi-homer game over their last 19 games since July 2 . On July 10th Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay each hit HR vs the Royals. The Yankees batters have been held homerless in seven straight games, matching their longest such streak since April 12 through April 19, 1990. It is their 3rd streak of at least 5 homeless games this season. When they do not homer they are 18-31 on the year. They have already been held homerless 48 games after only being held homerless in 31 games all of 2012.
The Yankees offense the last 30 days:
Rumor Mill: The Yankees are closing in on a deal to acquire Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs. On the year Soriano has posted a slash line of .254/.287/.467 with a wOBA of .322 and a wRC+ of 100. He has hit 17 home runs while driving in 47.
The deal is expected to be completed in time for tonight's game.
Closer Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne, Adam Warren, and Boone Logan (LHP).
The Yankees bullpen is still anchored by Mariano Rivera who has 33 saves in in 34 opportunities. He is tied for second in the Majors with Joe Nathan of the Rangers behind Baltimore's Jim Johnson (35).
Something to watch: According the Elias Sports Bureau, David Robertson has retired the last 23 batters he has faced with the bases loaded since April 19, 2011. Hitters are 0-for-22 including with 16 strikeouts and 1 sacrifice fly in that span.
Over the last 30 days the Yankees bullpen has the 2nd lowest ERA in the American League (2.34) trailing only the Texas Rangers.
Since joining the Yankees Sabathia is 4-10 with a 4.19 ERA vs the Rays. He last started against the Rays on June 22nd at Yankee Satidum earning a win while allowing 5ER on 6 hits in 7 innings. In that game he allowed a grand slam to Wil Myers.
Over his last 5 starts he owns a 1-3 record with a 5.34 ERA. He has faced Baltimore, Kansas City, Minnesota twice, and the Red Sox. In the 5 games he has worked 32 innings and allowed 36 hits including 7 home runs while striking out 31 and walking just 7.
His last two outings have been particularly bad as he allowed 8R/3ER lasting only 4 innings against the Twins and 7R/ER in just 5 inning versus the Red Sox.
Last faced the Rays on June 23rd and pitched a solid 6.2 innings allowing just 3R/ER on 7 hits while striking out 7 and walking 3.
In his last 5 outings (1 relief appearance) he has posted a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 2.72. In that span he has faced the Rays, Baltimore two times, Texas, and Kansas City and has worked 36.1 innings allowing 11R/ER on 28 hits while striking out 32 and walking 9.
The Rays last faced Hughes on April 23rd when he received a no-decision but pitched well delivering 7 innings allowing jut 2R/ER on 6 hits in a 4-3 Yankees victory.
In his last 5 outings he has faced Texas twice, Minnesota twice, and Kansas City and has a record of 1-3 with a 2.53 ERA. In that span he has allowed 12R/9ER on 24 hits (5 home runs) while striking out 21 and walking 7.