The New York Yankees (68-59) continued their winning ways this week as they swept the Toronto Blue Jays in a four game series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are now 10-0 against the Blue Jays at home and 12-1 against Toronto overall this season. With bats like Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson heating up, the Yankees’ offense has definitely taken a complete 180 from three weeks ago. However, what stood out to me in this series was players like Chris Stewart, Eduardo Nunez, and Jayson Nix coming up with big hits at opportune times. The role players are starting to make significant contributions while starting pitchers Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte made solid improvements in their starts this week. Now, the stretch run gets hotter for a team that has won 11 of their last 14 and is just 3.5 games back for the second wild card and six games back for the division. This weekend, New York has an opportune chance to gain immediate ground in both races against a tough AL East rivals.
The Tampa Bay Rays (72-53) have had success of late, including winning two of three in Baltimore against the Orioles this week. This is a team that has seen solid starting pitching all season, but also the success of Wil Myers still stands out. Myers is hitting .312 this season with 39 RBI’s in 53 games. The significant change from the Rays compared to last month’s series in Yankee Stadium is Evan Longoria. The Rays’ third baseman has equaled his home run total in July already this month with four home runs and eight RBI’s. Tampa is 7-6 against the Yankees this season, but is battling the injury bug themselves with Matt Moore still on the disabled list and Desmond Jennings just returned from his finger injury this week. That being said, Tampa is only one game behind the Red Sox in the division and still holds the first Wild Card spot. This should shape up to be another interesting series this week as Hiroki Kuroda gets the start for the Yankees Friday and a CC Sabathia-David Price matchup on Saturday.
On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, presented by BaldVinny.com, I talked about the Yankees’ four game sweep of the Blue Jays and about Derek Jeter‘s rehab appearance in Scranton on Thursday night. Then, David Hill from Rays Colored Glasses joined me to preview this weekend’s series. We talk about Tampa’s injury concerns, the acquisitions of Delmon Young and potentially David DeJesus to the outfield, and some X-Factors to watch in this series. Plus, David and I discuss whether or not the Yankees are the biggest threats to Tampa and Boston instead of the Orioles.