Heading into this past weekend’s series against the host Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees were limping, and on the verge of falling too far back to make an October run. The team had just been swept in a rain-shortened, abbreviated series in Baltimore against the Orioles, one that put the O’s squarely in control of their own destiny over the final six weeks of the regular season. By the end of the weekend, the Yankees had leapfrogged the Toronto Blue Jays, and are now in second place. The Orioles however, continue to win, as 2014 appears to be another masterful work of art by manager Buck Showalter, who has some how, some way, patched enough starting pitching together to have a full 7-game lead on the second place Bombers heading into this week.
The Yankees, who were hoping to stay above water, and hopefully stay in contention for the second and final Wild Card spot in the American League, could ill-afford another series sweep loss on the road. Tropicana Field has given the Yankees headaches since 2008, but without David Price, the Yankees are now a team that could be and should be beaten with consistency. Even with the depth of solid starting pitching, it’s the lack of sustainable offense, that has been the downfall of the injury-plagued Rays in 2014. Let’s take a closer look at each game of the three-game set from this past weekend.