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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: Bring on the Empire

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Yet another big weekend series for the Rays

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

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

Bat/Pitch 2019 Stat Rays Yanks
Bat/Pitch 2019 Stat Rays Yanks
Bat HR 22nd 10th
Bat SB 5th 11th
Bat BB% 11th 9th
Bat K% (lowest) 18th 9th
Bat wRC+ 6th 8th
Bat Def (FG) 16th 28th
Pitch K/9 4th 8th
Pitch BB/9 (lowest) 4th 15th
Pitch K-BB% 1st 9th
Pitch GB% 3rd 18th
Pitch ERA (lowest) 1st 8th
Pitch FIP (lowest) 1st 11th
Pitch xFIP (lowest) 1st 10th
Pitch fWAR 2nd 4th

Hopefully the Rays can keep the plucky little Yankees at arm’s length.... (barf)

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