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Series Preview- Yankees vs Rays

The Yankees start a four-games series in Tampa Bay tonight after splitting the previous series in Toronto. The Rays are coming off a five hour and forty-four minute marathon on Sunday night against the Red Sox, which they lost in the 16th inning. The Yankees need to take advantage of this tonight and get off to an early lead.

They will be facing Alex Cobb, a rookie with a 2-0 record in five spot starts this season. If the Yankees can get to Cobb early and often, Rays Manager Joe Maddon will be forced to dip back into his bullpen. The Rays used eight pitchers out of the pen on Sunday night. Those eight pitchers complied 8 innings, three hits, one run, 10 walks and six strikeouts while throwing 152 pitches. Getting Cobb out of the game early should be on the minds of every Yankees hitter going into tonight’s game.

A.J. Burnett looks to get on a roll facing the Rays in the first game of the four game series in Tampa.

While the Yankees will be trying their best to put up runs, A.J. Burnett (8-7) will be on the mound to open the series. This could be a great opportunity for him to get a great start under his belt and getting on a role for the second half. Burnett hasn’t won back-to-back games since starting the season 3-0. This could be the chance for Burnett to show the Yankee fans that he can be counted on the rest of the way.

Game two will have Bartolo Colon (6-5) trying to bounce back from an awful start in Toronto facing Jeremy Hellickson (8-7). Wednesday’s game will feature Freddy Garcia (7-7) and David Price (9-7). The season finale on Thursday features a match-up of two of the American League’s top pitchers in C.C. Sabathia (14-4) and James Shields (8-8).

These two teams will play each other 13 times the rest of the season including this four game set. The Yankees go into the series 1.5 games back of the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East and are 5.5 games ahead of the Rays for the Wild Card.  These three teams will battle for the division lead and the Wild Card spot for the rest of the season. A series win for Yankees could go a long way in separating the teams.

I see the series being split with the Yankees winning the first and last games of the series.


Justin McElrath

NYYUniverse.com Staff Writer

Follow me on Twitter @Justin_McElrath