The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays meet up for the second game of a crucial American League East series Tuesday night at Tropicana Field
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
New York remains 1.5 games back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East divisional race, picking up a 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay Monday night. The Yankees have provided some distance between them and the third-place Rays, as the two are now separated by 6.5 games in the standings. “It’s a big win, especially when you come back like that,” said Yankees catcher Russell Martin. “They had our number the whole night and we were just able to rally late.” Despite being held without a home run in four-straight games, the club has still managed to win three of those contests. New York is 37-28 versus right-handed starters and 28-13 against winning ball clubs this year.
Yankees starting pitcher Bartolo Colon is 6-5 with a 3.47 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts) this season and is looking to break a two-game losing streak. The right-hander has been touched up for 13 runs (eight earned) and 16 hits over 6 1/3 innings over that span. Colon will be making his 10th appearance (ninth start) on the road, coming in with a solid 4-2 mark and 2.98 ERA, issuing just nine walks and registering 46 strikeouts in 51 1/3 frames. In 19 lifetime starts versus the Rays, the former Cy Young winner has tallied an impressive 9-3 record and 3.84 ERA, including a 3-1 mark and 3.52 ERA in nine appearances at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay impressed many by coming out of the gate and taking a 3-1 advantage after the first inning last night, but was unable to hold off the Bronx Bombers in the end. The Rays played a marathon 16-inning game on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, eventually dropping the contest, 1-0. “We needed to put more points up there,” Rays manager Joe Maddon commented. “We had opportunities to get more runs and we did not do it.” The club is now 2-4 versus New York this year and just 46-68 all-time when hosting the series at tonight’s venue. Tampa Bay is 19-28 when playing against winning opposition and 22-24 at home.
Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson is 8-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 16 starts this season and snapped a four-game losing streak last time out. The right-hander picked up an 8-3 home victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on July 3, after receiving just one run of support in his previous four outings. He will be toeing the rubber at home for the eighth time tonight, posting a 3-4 record and 2.94 ERA, as opponents are hitting .204 against him. In two previous relief appearances versus the Yankees, Hellickson is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA, pitching a combined 3 2/3 frames. The 24-year-old will be starting against the Bronx Bombers for the first time tonight.
Bettors will likely back the Yankees due to their 13-6 mark as a road favorite, while the Rays are 1-4 as a home underdog