The Rays head to New York for four games against the Yankees as the try to complete one of the great comebacks in recent playoff history.
Tampa Bay is just 4-5 against the Yankees as they enter play
tonight trailing the Red Sox by two games in the wild card race. They’ll play four
against the Yanks then return home to the Trop for three with the Blue Jays and
three with the Yankees. If ever they were to get hot against the AL East
leading Yankees the time is now.
Tonight Tampa Bay's Wade Davis (10-9) will face Ivan Nova (15-4,
3.81). Then tomorrow it’s a day-night doubleheader that will feature Rays
starters James Shields (15-11) and Jeremy Hellickson (13-10) against CC
Sabathia (19-8) and Phil Hughes (5-5), respectively.
Jeff Niemann (11-7) is
scheduled to start Thursday night against Bartolo Colon (8-9).
Davis (10-9, 4.41 ERA) hasn’t faced the Yankees this season but is
2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his last three outings them. He’s 5-5 with a 5.40 ERA
lifetime and has handled one of the Yankees big names, Mark Teixeira rather
easily holding the slugger to a 1 for 10.
MLB odds boards opened with Nova as a -170 favorite with
the total at nine. The weather forecast is calling for partly cloudy skies, a
20 percent chance of rain and very light winds.
It’s been a mixed bag for Davis in his last two starts. He beat
Boston 7-2 on Friday night throwing a complete game. He’ll look to help even
the season series at six games apiece against a New York team which had lost
three of four prior to Monday’s 6-4 win over Minnesota, in the opener of an
Anatomy of a comeback
The Rays (85-67) trailed Boston by nine
games and the Yankees by 9 1/2 on Sept. 2, but they’ve trimmed those deficits
by winning 11 of 15. After winning three out of four in Boston, The Rays are
two games behind the Bosox with ten games remaining. Boston finishes with seven
of those 10 against the Baltimore Orioles who just played spoiler against the
Angels by taking two out of three.
The irony of the wild card race is too
much to be believed. It’s created a once in a lifetime scenario when for the
next tens the passionate Red Sox Nation has to root for the Yankees from here
Two words, Mariano Rivera. He’s had one
pitch virtually his entire career, a cutter. Yet while 99% of the hitters know
the pitch is coming they still can’t hit it. Growing up a lifetime Dodgers fan
we’re taught to hate the Yankees. But for me personally I’ve grown appreciate
greatness in any form.
From the Beatles to Andrea Bocelli to Mariano Rivera; when it comes to doing their jobs better than anyone else they do it. I’m not
alone in my respect. The man Rivera replaced as the all-time saves leader was
great too. Rivera’s 602 saves have come in 674 chances. Hoffman got his 601 in
677 tries with many of those coming with losing teams in San Diego.
No longer is A-Rod a yearly MVP candidate, nor does he even
putting up numbers worthy of his $30 million dollar per year The Yankees hope
the rest of August and September can at least give them an idea. The meniscus
is intact. The power should return. The possibilities remain big. Even if he’s
not the A-Rod of old, he’s still A-Rod.
Harvey’s Take: A month ago it seemed like there was no chance of anything but a
two team playoff race in the American League East. Things have changed
dramatically and it’s the Red Sox who are hanging on for dear life.
And this is not implying the Yankees would tank in any game but
will they give 100 percent knowing they’re helping the Red Sox.
It’s the Rays for me tonight.