After sweeping a two-game version of the Citrus Series (and holding the potent Marlins offense to a combined zero runs), the Rays will now face a far stiffer test: three games in Yankee Stadium.
Last weekend the Rays played host to the Yanks, barely holding on to a 1.5-game lead while the Yankees took two out of three. This weekend, it’s only a half game separating the two teams at the top of the AL East, meaning a series victory (or a split if the Yankees lack of a dome means another rainout...) is needed to remain the Kings of the AL East.
Here are the matchups:
Friday, 7:05 p.m.: Opener* vs. CC Sabathia (2-1, -0.1 fWAR, 3.26/6.31/5.34 ERA/FIP/xFIP)
Saturday, 1:05 p.m.: Blake Snell (3-4, 1.3, 3.56/2.88/2.50) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (3-3, 1.0, 3.44/4.10/4.01)
Sunday, 1:05 p.m.: Charlie Morton (4-0, 1.5, 2.32/2.69/3.36) vs. TBD**
* Rays potentially looking at Ryne Stanek-Yonny Chirinos for Friday
** Yankees potentially looking at Luis Cessa for Sunday
So far this season, the Rays, for as good as they have been, have looked human against the Yankees and Red Sox. If they want to be legitimate contenders—which many of us believe them to be—they’ll need to start showing that against the Big Dogs of the East. This is a good series to start showing it. Up the flappy boys.
- The Rays are a surrealist dream — The Rays get the New York Times treatment once again with the Yankees series getting underway.
- How Jose Alvarado, a Rays original, developed baseball’s nastiest pitch — Double the NYT coverage!
- Ten things to know about new Rays catcher Travis d’Arnaud — How about some local coverage? Here’s Topkin.
- A Bronx fail: Rays haven’t fared well at Yankee Stadium while atop AL East — And some Romano.
- For the Pirates, Archer trade not looking sterling — After that last bummer of an article, I figured you needed a pick me up.
- Longtime WDAE sports talk-radio host Steve Duemig dies
- Yes, Hillsborough & Tampa are still trying to build a new Rays stadium — The beat goes on, buh-duh duh duh-duh duh.
- Four things the Yankees have learned about the Rays — ESPN treatment. This is definitely the biggest series of the MLB weekend. Don’t @ me, Astros-Red Sox.
- Rays’ Andrew Velazquez returning to the Bronx for the first time as a big leaguer — Gotta love a homecoming story.
- Yankees-Rays rivalry is getting more hostile — We’ll see if CC pulls any of this nonsense in Game 1. Let’s hope not. The baseball should be good enough on its own this weekend. Also, this Post article includes a gratuitous “dreadful Yankee Stadium.” F**k these guys, let’s sweep em.