Once again it is Friday, and the Rays are headed into an early-season series with a division rival that seems to have a little bit extra spice despite the season being in its early days. After a pair of weekend series with the Red Socks (nee Sox) in April, this time it’s the Bronx Bombers who will be rolling into town, currently sitting just 1.5 games behind the Rays in the AL East, despite a injured list longer than Avengers: End Game.
The weekend series will pit the top three (healthy) Yankee starters with the lowest ERA against the Rays breakout ace, an Opener, and the reigning AL Cy Young:
Friday: Diego German (6-1, 1.4 fWAR, 2.35/2.71/3.93) vs. Tyler Glasnow (6-0, 1.5, 1.47/2.39/2.95)
Saturday: C.C. Sabathia (2-1, 0.1, 3.20/5.62/4.81) vs. TBD
Sunday: Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 0.8, 3.77/4.30/4.18) vs. Blake Snell (3-3, 0.9, 3.62/3.35/2.75)
It’s interesting that every Yankee pitcher has a higher xFIP than ERA, especially given the fact that they play in the notoriously homer-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. Hopefully some of that regression comes in what could be a massive weekend series for the Rays.
A sweep puts them nearly back at their biggest division lead of the season so far, a series win or loss of 2-1 keeps them in first, but a sweep would mean losing hold of the division lead for the first time since March (aka two games into the season).
Here’s a quick team comp for the early 2019 returns for each club:
Series Preview: Season Ranks
Hopefully the Rays can keep the plucky little Yankees at arm’s length.... (barf)
- What insiders like — and don’t — in the AL East — Hint: They like the Rays. A lot.
- Meet Tricia Whitaker, the Rays’ new in-game sideline reporter for Fox Sports Sun — The Rays sideline reporter gig had seen more turnover than the drummer for Spinal Tap, so it’s always fun learning about our new reporters.
- After Passing All Tests, the Yankees Face Their Biggest Yet in the Rays — One nice thing about playing the Yankees? New York Times’ series preview, baby! (Paywall, of course)
- A guide to the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays for Yankee fans — Same thing with getting to read Lindsey Adler over at The Athletic. “If you know the enemy and yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
- What Yankees are thinking heading into showdown series with first-place Rays — One more behind-enemy-lines piece.
- Rays are in first, but are they more impressive than the Yankees? — Meanwhile, the Rays sites have headlines like this... God, I really hope we sweep these effers.
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