(2 Game Set)
So the Yankees split one of the most exciting, heart wrenching, finger biting, up and down two game series you may ever see. This series ended just like the last one, with the bullpen unable to do their job. The schedule does not get any easier on the Yankees as they are starting a two game set with the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays. To Quote Joe Girardi the Yankees bullpen is currently "a mess" no one can seem to get outs when they are needed, not even Mariano. Furthermore the injuries as starting to show and holes have been exposed. Marcus Thames the hero from the first game could not catch the ball in right, and Randy Winn looked completely over matched by Papelbon's fastball. Yet the Yankees have been doing their best to maintain ground.
The Rays come into the Bronx with baseballs best record and sit 3 games ahead of the Yankees for first place in the AL East.The Rays are led by Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Evan Longoria. The Rays are a good team. They are for real. Any doubters they may have should watch this set to see their talent. They catch the ball, they score runs, and as long as their starters can go deep they pitch. This is where the Yankees need to beat the Rays the weak spot of their team is middle relief. The Yankees need to be patient at the plate and get into long at-bats to knock out the starter early.
However the same could be said for the Yankees. The bullpen is currently in shambles, some relievers have been over worked, some have been in effective, and others have been both. Can Girardi trust anyone besides Mariano? Even he hasn't been himself his past two appearances. The Yankees were hoping this would be a battle for first place, but with a sweep the Yankees can only make it to 1 game back. This series may be used as a litmus test, but it is important to remember that (pending Swisher and Posada's availability) 4 of the Yankees starting 9 from opening day will not be in the lineup.
Game 1: Tonight @ 7:05 p.m. | TV: YES & ESPN | Radio: WCBS
RHP A.J. Burnett (4-1, 3.31) vs. RHP Wade Davis (3-3, 3.38)
Game 2: Thursday @ 7:05 p.m. | TV: MY9 & MLBN | Radio: WCBS
LHP Andy Pettitte (5-0, 1.79) vs. RHP James Shields (4-1, 3.00)
- Will the Rays expose the Yankees holes?
- Will Swisher and/or Posada be available?
- Can the Yankees get into the Rays middle relief?
- C Jorge Posada took a foul ball off the foot. Was completely unavailable against Red Sox. His status is in question.
- CF Curtis Granderson is on the 15-day DL with a grade 2 strain of his left groin and is expected to be out 2-4 weeks.
- OF Nick Swisher felt a strain in his bicep. He is day-to-day and may be a game time decision.
- DH/1B Nick Johnson is on the 15-day DL with an inflamed tendon in the wrist. Had Surgery on Tuesday out until Late July.
- RHP Alfredo Aceves is on the 15-day DL with lower back discomfort.
- LHP J.P. Howell is on the 15-day DL with shoulder weakness.
- RF Matt Joyce is on the 15-day DL with a sprain of his UCL.
- C Kelly Shoppach is on the 15-day DL with an injured meniscus in his right knee.