The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays, respectively, in the Wild Card round and are now ready to face each other starting today.
For the New York Yankees, it will be the perfect opportunity to seek revenge. The Rays took eight of the ten games they played in the regular season, back when the Bombers were struggling with injuries and dropping game after game.
However, Luke Voit, who led the Yankees and the whole league in home runs this season, those ten games are no indication of how the series that will start tonight will go.
â€œWeâ€™re a lot healthier, and these games are a lot more meaningful,â€ Voit told MLB.com. â€œThey have good pitching, and theyâ€™ve figured ways to score runs against us, so youâ€™ve got to give them credit. But I think weâ€™re a lot different team than when we faced them during the regular season. I feel good about us. Weâ€™ve got a really tough lineup, and I think weâ€™re going to do a lot of damage against them.â€
The last time the Yankees played against the Rays in the regular season, in a series that started on August 31 and finished on September 2, they were missing Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres, three of the most decorated hitters on the team.
The Yankees are healthier now
But now, they are all ready to rock, and Voit has enormous confidence in what Gerrit Cole, who will be on the mound tonight for the Yankees, can do.
â€œWe paid him to pitch in October. Itâ€™s a lock,â€ Voit said. â€œEveryone knows that. We need him to go out there to throw seven or eight strong innings and do what he does best.â€
On a personal level, the 2020 season was a great one for Voit, who slashed .277/.338/.610 with the league-leading 22 round-trippers. He has been dealing with foot issues in the last few days but is confident that the four off days that the Yankees got after sweeping the Indians will serve him well.
â€œItâ€™s nice not having to wear cleats right now,â€ Voit said. â€œThatâ€™s a big thing. Iâ€™ve been able to get a lot of treatment done. I havenâ€™t had any pain, but Iâ€™m sure it will find a way to come back in this series. Itâ€™s something I can keep grinding through.â€