The Rays come into town once the Mariners head out. This will be the second time the two teams play each other this year. They split a four-game series a little over a week ago. The Yankees are playing well but the Rays always seem to give them trouble.
Rays @ Yankees
Who’s Hot?: James Loney and Ben Zobrist are among the hottest Rays. Loney over the last six games is hitting around .320. He had a very good year for the Rays last year and continues to play well in 2014. As for Ben Zobrist, he is hitting almost .350 over the last week. Neither have shown too much power over the span, but both players have hit the ball with authority of late and the numbers reflect it.
Who’s Not?: The present and the future of the Rays organization have not been seeing the ball well lately. By that, I mean Evan Longoria and Wil Myers. Longoria’s average has hovered around .200 with just a home run and a few RBI over the past week. In that same span, Desmond Jennings hasn’t done much better. Jennings is only around .220 with only a couple of RBI.
*What To Watch For*
Vidal Nuno will start the first game against the Rays. He started against them Easter Sunday and pitched five scoreless innings. This being just Nuno’s second year, the Rays have not seen much of him. The only player with more than a hit against Nuno is James Loney with two hits. The 26-year-old did will try to continue his success against Tampa Bay.
Masahiro Tanaka will start the middle game of the three-game set. It will be his first career start against the Rays and the first chance the Rays have to see how nasty the $155 million pitcher really is. The final start will be made by Sabathia. Evan Longoria has Sabathia’s number batting 23-for-56 (.411) with six homers and 11 RBI. Sean Rodriguez also hits the lefty well going 14-for-45 (.311) with three home runs and seven RBI.
Desmond Jennings and Jose Molina have not been nearly as lucky against the former ace of the Yankees. Jennings is just 8-for-40 (.200) with just one RBI. If you thought Jennings struggles against Sabathia, Molina gives the word a new meaning. The Rays’ catcher has only one hit in 45 at-bats which translates to a nice .045 average. If the Yankees are going to win the series, they MUST tame Longoria. You can even say he was single-handedly responsible for the Rays being able to take a series split with the Yanks last time around. And that is your Rays/Yankees series preview.