May 19, 2010

Rays-Yankees series preview

The Rays have won four straight and hold an absurd .718 winning percentage through almost a quarter of the season, and the Yankees bullpen has blown three eighth-inning leads in a row.

Fortunately for the Yanks, they won’t have to face David Price or Matt Garza — two pitchers SI’s Cliff Corcoran sees as top 5 AL Cy Young candidates thus far.

They also have another thing going for them: I’ll be in attendance on Thursday, and they’re 2-0 this year when I’ve been in the crowd.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Rays starters Yankees starters
Wed., 7:05 p.m. Wade Davis (3-3, 3.38) A.J. Burnett (4-1, 3.31)
Thurs., 7:05 p.m. James Shields (4-1, 3.00) Andy Pettitte (5-0, 1.79)

Players to Watch:
Rays: Evan Longoria
. My preseason AL MVP pick. He’s leading the team with a .318 batting average as well as nine homers and 35 RBIs. He’s by far the most dangerous hitter in the lineup, so he’s definitely the one guy you don’t want to be beaten by.

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez. All the sudden, the cleanup hitter is hitting .290. He still only has five homers so far, but he also has nine two-hit games this month and has been very clutch. Trust me, the power stroke will come soon enough. 

It’s only a two-game series and I think the Yankees can snag both. The Yanks will need two big performances from their starters because the bullpen just isn’t cutting it right now. Burnett and Pettitte should do the trick.

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