Getting through the Angels with two wins, albeit the last one shaky in the ninth, the Yankees have three games against the Tampa Bay Rays on tap for this weekend.
The most intriguing match up comes right off the bat in tonight’s game as C.C. Sabathia goes head to head with David Price (9-10 3.89 ERA). The two lefties are two of the best in the game today and runs could come at a premium. Sabathia is coming off a rough outing in Boston and that result is not expected to repeat itself tonight.
Following Sabathia is Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. In what seems to be the biggest story line for the Yankees, the rotation has come front and center. Every start is an audition, as it seems Sabathia is the only steady arm. Hughes is in position to make an impression on Joe Girardi and the rest of the Yankee brass.
Price leads the Rays rotation with Jeremy Hellickson (10-7 3.05 ERA) and James Shields (11-9 2.80 ERA) following over Saturday and Sunday. In Hellickson’s last start against New York on July 19 he pitched 7.0 innings giving up two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. He is 3-0 in his last five starts and the team is 4-1 over that stretch. Shields has been one of the league’s bests this season leading the league in complete games (8).
Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton anchor the Rays lineup. The offensive production from Tampa has diminished this year compared to the past couple of seasons, but on any given night they could put up big numbers. They Yankees on the other hand are at the top of nearly every team-hitting category in the league.
The Yankees line up could receive a huge boost after this weekend with the arrival of a healthy Alex Rodriguez. A couple games in the minors for A-Rod will help him get back into the swing of things by the time he rejoins the big league team.
Before the Yankees can add Rodriguez to the line up they will need to face the scrappy Rays. The Yankees will look to take two of three from the Rays, for yet another series win. Look for Sabathia to bounce back strong to record his 17th win as well as an offensive win in game two.
NYYUniverse.com Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @Justin_McElrath