New York Yankees: Tampa Bay Rays series preview of a must-win series

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Last week, the New York Yankees went into a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, hoping to win that series. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen; the Yankees couldn’t even split the series. That loss makes the series that starts tonight with the Tampa Bay Rays even more important to put it into the win column for the struggling Yankees. The series will be played under the dome at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees are now just one half-game from 10 games out in the AL East. The Yankees started the season with what most thought was a championship team. Performance has shown that that has not been proven to be true. A championship team wins more than they lose, a lot more wins than the Yankees have been able to win. A championship team leads its division. The fact is that the Yankees have not been able to beat the teams ahead of them in the division.

Tampa Bay is one of those teams. In the first series of the season, the Yankees won one of 3. Then, in mid-April, the Rays swept the Yankees. In mid-May, the Yankees took 2 of 3. Finally, in early June, they split a four-game series. Going into this series, the Yankees are 5-8 against the Rays this season. The Yankees really need a win in this series to begin a difficult climb up in the AL East standings.



Tonight, July 27, 7:10 pm:

The New York Yankees, tonight, will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound to face Shane McClanahan. The game at Tropicana Field will begin at 7:10 pm. Montgomery has been the bad luck kid getting little, if any, run support. The Yankees have only scored 10 runs in his last 6 starts. That’s less than 2 runs a game. Monty is 3-5  with an ERA of 3.96  with 105 strikeouts. However, he has pitched much better than the stats suggest. Monty hopes in this important game against the Rays; he will get some help.

Shane McClanahan will start for the Tampa Bay Rays. He is a lefty that is 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA and 78 strikeouts. McClanahan coming off two wins in a row, one against the Blue Jays and one against the Orioles. This month he has allowed two walks per game. All of the regular Yankees have hit well off of McClanahan this season. Tonight’s game is televised on WPIX and its affiliates in New York, Bally Sports Sun in Florida, and MLBN out of market nationally.

Wednesday, July 28, 7:10 pm:

Back off the Covid list, Nestor Cortes Jr. will start the Wednesday evening game against Michael Wacha. Cortes has pitched masterfully, replacing Corey Kluber in the rotation. The Yankees have won his last four starts giving up just one run. He is 0-0 with an ERA of 1.95 with 34 strikeouts. Most of the Rays players have not seen much of Cortes. Only Yandy Diaz has hit well off of Cortes.

The Rays righty Michael Wacha will start for the Rays. He is 2-2 with a 5.16 ERA and 34 strikeouts. The Rays have won his last three starts while giving up eight runs.  Both Brett Gardner and DJ LeMahieu have .333 batting averages off him. Gio Urshela has had the best record going .400 in five plate appearances. Wednesday night’s game will be televised on the YES Network, Bally Sports Sun, and nationally on ESPN.

Thursday, July 30, 1:10 pm:

Thursday’s matinee will feature New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole pitted against righty Luis Patino. Cole has been the Yankee’s most successful pitcher. He is 10-5 with an ERA of 2.74 and an incredible baseball-leading 166 strikeouts. He is coming off a loss to the Boston Red Sox. Back on July 10th, he pitched a complete-game shutout of the Houston Astros. Only one Ray has Cole’s number. Ji-Mon Choi has a .667 batting average against Cole in 12 at-bats.

The Rays will send out Luis Patino to face Cole. Patino is a righty that is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.26. Patino is a starter and long reliever for the Rays. He seldom goes more than four innings. This will be the seventh start of his pitching career. The Yankees have little experience with Patino. Only DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela have gotten a hit off him. The matinee game will be televised on the YES Network and Bally Sports Sun.
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