Yanks Go Yard Radio Show Rewind: Rays-Yankees Preview (9/4-9/6)

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On Wednesday night’s episode of the Yanks Go Yard Radio Show, I started off the episode by recapping the New York Yankees (74-58) recent series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. While the Yankees missed plenty of opportunities to win the first game, they were able to win the final two games of the series thanks to great pitching by Michael Pineda and a 13-run performance in the series finale on Wednesday.

New York went on the road against two teams with sub .500 records and they were able to take four out of the six games to stay within 1.5 games of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. Now, New York is back at Yankee Stadium to begin a ten game homestand. The first three games of this homestand will be against the Tampa Bay Rays (66-67), a team that has managed to stay in playoff contention.

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Kevin Cash’s squad comes into tonight’s game 4.5 games behind the Texas Rangers for the second Wild Card spot. While they have lost six of their last ten, their offense did have the second highest batting average of any team in baseball last month (.278) and they had the sixth most hits (264)-, but they were 21st in runs scored.

On Wednesday night, third baseman Evan Longoria (.268, 17 HR, 61 RBI’s) became the first player to hit 200 career home runs in a Rays’ uniform. Longoria has four home runs and 14 RBI’s in his last 27 games. Those 14 RBI’s were second on the team behind shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who hit .356 and had a .400 on-base percentage in 27 games last month.

When you look at the Rays’ pitching staff, they received a big boost to the rotation during September callups. Matt Moore is back with the team and will face the Yankees on Saturday. While Moore did not look sharp in his return from Tommy John surgery in July, he did have a 3.30 ERA in his last five starts at triple-A Durham and struck out 43 batters over the course of 30 innings. If Moore can return to form, Tampa has the chance to go on a run.

To get more insight on the Rays, I spoke with Joe Saunders, a writer over at Rays Colored Glasses to get his thoughts on Tampa’s postseason chances and if fans are concerned that closer Brad Boxberger, who has blown three saves since August 1. Here are the other topics we discussed:

  • The impact Kevin Kiermaier has had in center field for the Rays
  • Who are the September call-ups that will impact the Rays the most
  • Will Asdrubal Cabrera be offered a contract after this season?
  • Pitching Matchup Breadown
  • Jake Odorizzi (tonight’s Rays’ starter) has a 4.62 ERA in his last nine starts
  • Luis Severino (tonight’s Yankees’ starter) keeps winning despite walking ten batters in his last three outings
  • What should Rays’ fans expect from Matt Moore (tomorrow’s Rays’ starter) down the stretch?
  • Nathan Eovaldi (tomorrow’s Yankees starter) has yet to lose a game at home or in the daytime this year
  • Chris Archer (Sunday’s Rays’ starter) has held the Yankees to two runs in two starts against them this year
  • How Ivan Nova (Sunday’s Yankees’ starter) made progress in his last start, but couldn’t get the win
  • Rays hitters to watch: Asdrubal Cabrera and Daniel Nava
  • Yankees hitters to watch: Stephen Drew and Greg Bird
  • James Loney continues to be a “Yankee killer”

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