Yankees are gearing up for dirty Rays team to throw ‘high and tight’

New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have had their fair share of struggles this year, with closer Aroldis Chapman throwing a fastball at the head of Michael Brosseau. That sparked a benches-clearing situation, and ever since that moment, both teams have chirped back-and-forth and developed an intense rivalry.

The ALDS could become hostile quickly since both teams vocally hate each other. Tampa’s manager Kevin Cash spoke ill of the Bombers after the debacle several weeks ago.

After the incident, Cash stated:

“It’s ridiculous. Enough is enough. … It was mishandled by the Yankees.”

“Poor judgement. Poor coaching. Poor teaching.”

“I can assure you, other than three years ago, there hasn’t been one pitch thrown with intent from any of our guys. Somebody has to be accountable and the last thing I’ll say is I have a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph.”

The Yankees expect the Rays to come after them, throwing “high and tight.” Nonetheless, the Bombers aren’t afraid of the Rays’ pitchers, especially coming off a series sweep in the Wild Card against the Cleveland Indians. They posted 22 overall runs in just two games, so their offense is well prepared to compete against a strong starting pitching rotation for Tampa.

“If that’s their game plan, good luck to them,” Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames said Thursday. “I don’t think they can pitch in for strikes. If we stick with our plan and approach, we’ll be fine.”

Manager Aaron Boone hopes to have a clean series, but the likelihood of that happening is low. One errant pitch can throw both teams off their game, making it hostile.

“I don’t expect it to be a factor moving forward,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, there’s been some things that have happened that certainly get played up. I watch highlight shows and people love to talk about it, and understandably.”

Slugger Giancarlo Stanton is excited for the matchup, despite the bad blood between the two teams:

“It’s going to be power vs. power,” Stanton said. “We’ve got to stay in our strike zone, have good at bats and wear ’em down. You’ve got to wear these guys down from top to bottom of our lineup and force them to make a mistake.”

Stanton is spot on; the Yankees must remain patient at the plate and let the Rays’ pitchers come to them. Waiting for fastballs has seemed to be the answer for the Yankees, but Tampa has arms that throw in the upper 90s, while Cleveland’s fastball average was hovering around 94. That is a major difference, and the Yankees will have to find a way to adjust.