Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier has strong words for ‘big market’ Yankees team

New York Yankees. Kevin Kiermaier

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have bad blood to sort out, but it likely won’t end in the ALDS matchup starting on October 5. The last time they faced closer Aroldis Chapman threw a 100 mph fastball at the head of Michael Brosseau, which sparked a benches-clearing situation, against COVID-19 protocols.

Ultimately, a ball traveling that fast can kill someone, and the Rays took it as such. After the contest, manager Kevin Cash torched the Yankees for their lack of professionalism and poor coaching. The Yankees didn’t respond in a hostile way via the media, but throwing  ”high and tight” is often the case between these two clubs.

Outfielder for the Rays, Kevin Kiermaier, had strong words for the Yankees as they approach their divisional series:

“With all the history we have had the last couple of years, it is what it is, I have said many times they don’t like us and we don’t like them,’’ Kiermaier said on a Zoom call via the New York Post. “It is going to continue to stay that way and it is going to be a very fun and energetic [series] and I know each team is going to try and put it to the opposition. I know that for a fact. It’s going to be two great teams playing against each other. I know our guys are real excited and ready to go and we plan to have the same thoughts when we get out West. Once again, we have forgot what went on, but moving forward we have to do everything in our power to be focused in order to win and that is what we plan on doing.’’

Both teams know that hostility could break out during the contest, and one bad pitch is all it takes for the chirping to begin. The Yankees, a big market team, facing off against a smaller market Tampa squad, is exciting, but somehow the Yankees are considered underdogs. The Rays have fantastic starting pitching, and the Yankees have been problematic in the category the past few weeks. Of course, ace Gerrit Cole is the most reliable arm, but behind him, things get a bit tumultuous.

“We know we can play with anyone. We know we can beat anyone. They are a big market team, everyone knows the Yankees, huge payroll. We are here trying to play our game. We don’t get a whole lot of recognition but at the end of the day we win ballgames,’’ Kiermaier said. “We know we are darn good at that. We don’t plan on changing anything as far as that. We plan on racking up the ‘Ws.’ We got 11 more and that is what we plan on doing.’’

Tampa feels as though they have something to prove, coming from a smaller market and less payroll. The Yankees, on the other hand, are expected to reach this stage of the playoffs every season, but simply haven’t been able to make it to the World Series in over a decade. The task ahead of them is tall, but they have the talent to get the job done.