New York Yankees Postseason: How volatile will a Yankees Rays ALDS be? (video)

William Parlee

The New York Yankees will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Divisional Series at the home of the San Diego Padres, Petco Park, on Monday. These two teams don’t particularly like each other, which has developed over the last few years as they became closer rivals and had frequent runs ins. That rivalry has only intensified this season. The Yankees and the Rays met up ten times this year, and the Yankees came away with just two wins on the season.

The New York Yankees started this season the odds on favorites to win the East Division, go to the World Series and possibly win a 28th World Championship.  That didn’t happen; the Yankees got the injury bug again and lost two starting pitchers for the entire season. The also lost a key part of the bullpen when Tommy Kahnle had Tommy John’s surgery and was unavailable for the remainder of the season. Nevertheless, the Yankees went 11-1 in their first twelve games.  Then the Yankees lost two of the team’s most potent hitters, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, to injuries they claim happened at the Rays Tropicana Field.

The Yankees then went on a 5-15 stretch as more injuries mounted.  During this period, the Rays met the Yankees at Yankee Stadium and swept them in three straight games. At this point, the Yankees were 1-7 against the Rays.  In the last meeting between the teams, the Yankees traveled back to Tampa to face them in the final three games of their season together. The Yankees won one of those games, but in the September 1 Yankee win, a  near bench-clearing brawl was triggered when Aroldis Chapman buzzed Mike Brosseau, with a 101 mph fastball.

Aroldis Chapman claimed it was unintentional, but was issued a three-game suspension.  Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said after the incident:

“Somebody’s got to be accountable. And the last thing I’ll say on it, I got a whole damn stable of guys that throw 98 mph. Period.”

The team was so upset by the incident that they made t-shirts emblazoned with the Cash 98 mph phrase.  To say the least, the two teams were on umpire watch and the Rays did not retaliate in the final game of the series. But now these two teams that are on edge with each other, will face eachother in the best-of-five postseason round, known as the American League Division Series. The winner of that series will go on to the seven game American League Championship series.

The question at Petco Park in San Diego, starting on Monday, is how volatile will that series be.  Will hitters be hit, will there be brench clearing brawls, or will both teams behave themselves and concentrate on winning the series, and setting aside the rivalry. If Tampa Bay Ray’s manager Keven Cash is to be believed, there will be some volatility if anyone of the Ray’s team get hit by a pitch.  Only time will tell, but there is no question that the series will be intense.  The Yankees want to win the series and advance.  The Rays appearing in their second ALDS in as many years will want to advance beyond the ALDS for the first time since 2008. The Yankees have gone a decade without a World Series Championship.

2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton is excited to meet the Ray outside of Tropicana Field, and has this to say going into the ALDS.

“Who would’ve thought we’d be facing Tampa Bay in San Diego when this year started? It’s good,” Stanton said. “We know what they got, we know it’s gonna be a fight, and we’ve got to play our best. … We ready, we ready. It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be a good fight, to take this East Coast battle to the West Coast.”

For the New York Yankees, they have announced the Yankee ace, Gerrit Cole will start the first game at Petco.  Cole in his one appearance in the Wild Card series went seven innings in the Yankee win against the Cleveland Indian;s presumptive Cy Young award winning Shane Bieber. Cole threw 105 pitches, giving up two runs, while striking out 13 Indians and walking none.  Bieber was pummeled by the Yankee’s offense. For the Rays, they have not announced a starting pitcher for the first game.  Those in the know, believe it will be Blake Snell although Tyler Glasnow has been more effective against the Yankees.

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