The last time the New York Yankees were in first-place in the AL East was back on April 24th, but thanks to the 10-strikeout, 7 1/3 innings performance by veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte, the Bombers now stand within striking distance.
At just a half-game back from their current opponents, the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays, who also share the top spot with the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees are hoping that by this time tomorrow they will sit atop the AL East once again.
So, will the Yankees be able to make their move on the Rays, or will Tampa Bay keep the Bombers at bay?
Here are some quick facts for each team, as they head into tonight’s game:
– Rays have been in first-place in the AL East for the last 45 days straight; and for a reason.
– Skipper Joe Maddon, aka. The mad-scientist might have something up his sleeve.
– Timing is off, as the Rays are currently struggling, as the have lost six of there last nine games.
– Cobb career against the Yankees is made up of 20 at-bats in total, allowing two RBIs, no homers, three strikeouts and a batting average of .150 against him. The Yankees are very black and white with pitchers they have no history with, as they either get blanked or rake; and it is a toss-up which why it will go.
– If they can beat the Bombers tonight, the Rays will leave New York with the Yankees trailing no matter the outcome of tomorrow night’s game.
– Sloppy offense play are costing the Rays games, or at least putting them in an avoidable hole.
– Rays are 12-7 in one-run games, which is top in the AL.
– Nova has seen the Rays for 70 at-bats in his career, and held the Rays to a .186 average, allowing four homers, four walks and 18 strikeouts.
– Yankees are not winning via home-run only as they have bunted and stealing bags more, which is vital.
– Yankees have won seven of their last 10 games.
– Over the last 14-days, the Yankee bats are posting a .272 average, with 16 homers, 51 RBIs, 22 doubles, nine triples, 34 walks and nine steals.
– Yankees still have a .220 RISP.
– Yankees have gone 17-13 in their last 30-games, which is best in the AL.
– Going 6-6 in one-run games gives the Rays an advantage if the Bombers bats go stale.
Yankees are the hottest team in the AL at the moment, as the Rays have struggled with the basics lately like most teams who are slumping.
All teams go through slumps, as Yankee fans well know but timing is everything and that clearly favors the Yankees tonight.
YANKEES BEAT RAYS – 9-3