The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees continue an American League East series Friday night at Yankee Stadium
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Tampa Bay started its 11 straight games against Boston and New York with a 5-1 victory inside Yankee Stadium Thursday night. The Rays are now 10 games above the .500 mark this season and know the importance of their current stretch. “That was like playing the first game of a playoff series tonight,” Rays manager Joe Maddon stated. “It’s good for baseball. It’s good for us, developmentally. Our guys enjoyed it, and I did, too.” The club was playing without designated hitter Johnny Damon, sitting out with a left hand contusion suffered just a day before. Regular third baseman Evan Longoria filled the role and collected two hits while driving in a run. Tampa Bay is 28-18 on the road and 16-12 versus division opponents this season.
Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson is 8-7 with a 3.21 ERA this season and snapped a four-game losing streak last time out. The right-hander allowed three earned runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings in an 8-3 home win over the Cardinals. He will be searching for his first road win since June 4, coming in with a 5-3 mark and 3.46 ERA in nine outings away from Tropicana Field. Hellickson has made two career relief appearances versus the Yankees, allowing two runs on five hits in 3 2/3 frames. The rookie is 11-1 in his career when Tampa Bay provides him with at least three runs.
New York has fallen behind Boston in the division standings and nobody seems to care due to All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter just two hits away from 3,000 for his career. He played his first game at Yankee Stadium since June 13 in yesterday’s 5-1 defeat and finished the night 1 for 5, knocking a double in his first at-bat. “After the first one, I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t think it was attainable today,” he commented. The Yankees are still 11-3 in their last 14 home games, but allowed an opponent to score more than four runs at the stadium for the first time in 13 home games. New York has enjoyed tremendous success at home in this series, posting a 75-34 all-time mark versus Tampa Bay in the Bronx.
Yankees starting pitcher Freddy Garcia is 7-6 with a 3.13 ERA in 16 appearances (15 starts) and is coming off a no-decision effort against the Mets on the road. In that particular outing, he allowed just a single run and six hits over seven frames. The right-hander has tallied a 5-4 mark and 3.60 ERA in nine home starts, but has surrendered seven home runs in 50 innings. Garcia has recorded a solid 8-2 record and 3.56 ERA in 15 career starts versus the Rays, including a perfect 4-0 mark when pitching at his home ballpark.
Bettors will likely back the Yankees dud to their 14-5 mark versus winning clubs, while the Rays are 1-4 in Hellickson’s last five starts