Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Series Preview: Yankees vs. Rays

Game 1: Tonight @ 7:05 PM | TV: My9 | Radio: WCBS
RHP Ivan Nova (15-4, 3.81) vs. RHP Wade Davis (10-9, 4.41)

Game 2: Tomorrow @ 1:05 PM | TV: YES | Radio: WCBS
RHP Phil Hughes (5-5, 6.00) or LHP CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.01) vs. RHP James Shields (15-11, 2.78)

Game 3: Tomorrow @ 7:05 PM | TV: YES/ESPN | Radio: WCBS
RHP Phil Hughes (5-5, 6.00) or LHP CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.01) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.91)

Game 3: Thursday @ 7:05 PM | TV: YES | Radio: WCBS
RHP Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.81) vs. RHP Jeff Niemann (11-7, 3.95)

Who to Watch:
B.J. Upton, CF - .234/.320/.410, 105 wRC+
The much maligned Upton has been integral to the Rays astonishing September run. In addition to batting .311/.408/.557 thus far, Upton hit .500/.563/.857 in the Rays' three game sweep of the Red Sox that set the stage for an exciting final two weeks. He's also has a career line of .265/.349/.468 against the Yankees, including three home runs in eleven games this season.
Evan Longoria, 3B - .244/.348/.490, 129 wRC+
Longoria has found his groove after struggling with injuries and inconsistency in the first half, batting .249/.373/.520 with 17 HR in the second half. He's also been integral to the Rays September run, batting .310/.461/.603 with 4 HR this month. A burgeoning superstar, it's also worth noting that Longoria has raised his BB% and cut his K% for the third consecutive season.
Desmond Jennings, LF - .295/.387/.507, 153 wRC+
Many hindsight specialists have argued that the Rays may very well have the Wild Card lead had Jennings been with the team the entire year - an interesting thought, but something that we'll never really know. That being said, Jennings has absolutely raked since coming up this summer, and, while he's slumped a bit this month, he remains a threat at the plate and on the basepaths.
James Shields, SP
Despite taking the loss in two of his three starts, Shields has posted a stellar 1.59 ERA against the Yankees this season. Shields leads the Majors in complete games with 11 (Halladay is second with 8), and has a 2.22 ERA since the end of July.
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