The Yankees just keep on rolling. After a 6-3 home stand following the All-Star break, the Yankees started a 7 game road trip by taking 3 of 4 from the lowly Cleveland Indians. Now their sights are set on their closest competitors the Tampa Bay Rays. With just about 24 hours remaining until the trade deadline the Yankees will look to put some more distance between themselves and the Rays before any reinforcements may arrive.
While this is a big series, the Yankees have put themselves in a tremendous position. With the best record in baseball at 65-36 after 101 games if the Yankees happened to play around .500 baseball the rest of the season, and because there are an odd number of games left let's assume 1 game under .500 ball they would still finish with a record of 95-67. That is pretty unbelievable. Still with the team the Rays have and how they have been playing nothing is assured in this division. It is important that the Yankees maintain a lead in the division after this series.
The Rays have gone from being basement dwellers to the poster child of "Post Steroid Era" baseball. Their team is built around athleticism and pitching. With a farm system abundant in talent they have the ability to acquire help at the deadline and fill in gaps when their stars leave via Free Agency. Their young core is going to compete in this division for years to come.
Hopefully the Yankees can put a temporary stop on the Rays success and put a little more breathing room between them in the race for the AL East crown. Leading Tampa Bay will be All-Stars Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, and Carlos Pena (who kills the Yankees). Luckily the Yankees will avoid AL All-Star Starter David Price.
Game 1: Tonight @ 7:10 p.m. TV:YES Radio: WCBS
RHP Phil Hughes (12-3, 4.04) vs. RHP Wade Davis (8-9, 4.32)
Game 2: Saturday @ 7:10 p.m. TV: YES & MLBN Radio: WCBS
RHP Javy Vazquez (9-7, 4.54) vs. RHP Matt Garza (11-5, 4.06)
Game 3: Sunday @ 1:40 p.m. TV: YES & TBS Radio: WCBS
LHP CC Sabathia (13-4, 3.15) vs. RHP James Shields (9-9, 4.79)
- The wait for 600 continues. A-rod keeps knocking in runs, but when with it come?
- Will Matt Garza struggle in his first start after his no-hitter (1st in Rays history)?
- Can Curtis Granderson continue his hot stretch? When he is on the Yankee lineup is much more dynamic.
- DH/1B Nick Johnson is on the 60-day DL with an inflamed tendon in the wrist. Set back on July 5th set to visit a wrist specialist.
- RHP Alfredo Aceves is on the 15-day DL with lower back discomfort. Was unable to finish his latest bullpen session.
- LHP Andy Pettitte has a Grade 1 groin strain. Expected to miss 4-5 weeks.
- LHP Damaso Marte is on the 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation
- C Jorge Posada is day-to-day (left knee) but expects to catch 2 out 3 in this series
- CF B.J. Upton is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle
- 2B Ben Zobrist is day-to-day with a stiff back
- LHP J.P. Howell is on the 15-day DL with shoulder weakness. (Expected back Spring 2011)
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