The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays will play in Tampa, Fla., as we near the end of the regular season. The Yankees have their playoff spot locked up, while the Rays, nine games behind them in the division, currently hold a Wild Card spot in the American League, though only by a half-game over the Cleveland Indians.
Getting Geared Up
The Yankees will come into this game against the Rays with a 102-55 record. They have locked up the American League East and will spend the rest of the regular season getting ready for October. New York has had an incredibly successful season despite dealing with injuries all year long.
They currently have five players still listed on their IL, including Edwin Encarnacion, Gay Sanchez, and Aaron Hicks. The Yankees have done well dealing with injuries this year, but they would like to be at full force in the postseason to avoid wasting the season.
The Yankees have not announced yet who they will start on the mound in this game; they will most likely be working out different pitchers to see who to rely on in the postseason as well as give their starters enough rest.
The Yankees are batting .269 as a team with an astounding 298 home runs. Their team ERA sits at 4.28. They are 45-31 on the road this season and 16-10 as underdogs so far.
After claiming wins in their last two games against Toronto, the Yankees improved to 6-4 over their last 10 games. While they will be testing out new pitchers to finish out the season, they will still look to finish the year strong to carry momentum into next month.
While the Yankees’ spot in the postseason is locked in and they are taking the last few games to prep for the playoffs, the Rays are essentially playing in playoff games for the rest of the year with the tight race they are still battling in.
Brendan McKay was scheduled to get the start in this game, but as reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Yonny Chirinos will get the start on a pitch count, and McKay will still likely be the primary pitcher. He has had three starts since returning from injury; in those games, he has posted a 4.91 ERA over 11 innings.
This season McKay is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA with 53 strikeouts. The 23-year-old rookie will need to have a solid outing against a tough Yankees ballclub to hold on to their Wild Card spot.
Leading from the plate for the Rays has been their centerfielder, Austin Meadows. The 24-year-old leads the team with his .291 batting average, 32 home runs, and 88 runs batted in.
Tampa Bay is batting .254 as a team with 209 home runs. They carry a team ERA of 3.67. At home they have a record this season of 46-33; they are just 57-62 in games where they are favored.
What To Expect
Tampa Bay will be facing a Yankees team that is not used to being the underdog this season. Even with their injuries, they are still a threat in every game. I think the Rays will have the advantage on the mound and will be able to pull off the win. I would expect a high-scoring game, but with their current situation, the Rays should bring more intensity to this matchup.