Ending a horrid 3-6 road trip, the New York Yankees are glad to be back home.
The Yankees come into the week with a 90-59 record, just a half-game ahead of the Rays, who sit at 89-59. The series will give both teams a chance to leave with a two or three game division lead, but the Yankees and Rays are so evenly matched that a 2-2 split seems more likely than anything else.
Which team looks stronger?
It has only been a week since New York and Tampa played what was, hands down, the best series of baseball this season. All three games were determined late, and both sqauds fought it out with playoff-like energy. In the end, Tampa took two of three games from the Yankees at the Trop.
But the road to a series win will be that much tougher for the Rays, who will this time face the Yankees in New York, and that is not the only advantage for the Pinstripes.
Since leaving Tampa, the Yankees have welcomed back Andy Pettitte. Pettitte pitched great on Sunday, going six innings and giving up only three hits. Even though Pettitte won’t face Tampa in this series, having him healthy again is a huge morale boost.
Joe Girardi made a smart decision to sit third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira during the Baltimore series, and they should come back energetic and healthy. Add well-rested Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher to the lineup, and suddenly Tampa looks at taking on a team headed into the playoffs with the entire roster ready to play.
HIT… is the word of the week for the Yankees, and they will need more of them with runners in scoring position in order to win this series. During the weekend Baltimore series, the Yankees left thirty men on base. Continue reading ‘Yankees-Rays: Why This Series Will Still Leave The AL East Up For Grabs’ »