Yankees look for a chance to bounce back in the series against Rays

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Table of Contents

After losing the closely-contested home series against the Nationals, the New York Yankees are set to retry their fate against the Tampa Bay Rays. These AL East contenders will clash in their fourth series this year. The Rays have won 6 out of 10 games played by these two in the season, with 56 runs outscoring the Yankees by 8 runs.

Tampa has currently a 2-1 home record versus the Yankees. Their home record for the season as of today is 43-22, while the Yankees are 25-33 when on the road.

The New York Yankees are 10 games away from a playoff berth and on track to end their 30-year track record of having winning seasons. The Rays, on the other hand, are +6 games into the AL Wild Card game, but with the objective of recovering the number one position in the AL East that the Orioles have taken over from them.

When playing at home the Tampa Bay Rays are 7-3 in the last 10 with a four-game winning streak, while the Yankees are 1-9. The Rays have won eight series, lost three, and split one series in the second half of the season. They are fourth in runs average scoring 5.4 runs per game, and first in runs allowed by only giving up 4.0 runs scored per game. Tampa Bay is also fifth in hits average with 8.8 hits per game.

The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees are tied as first in hits against and the pitching crew of both teams averages 7.8 hits allowed per game. The Yankees have won only one series, lost nine, and split two series in the second half of the season. The Bronx Bombers are 23rd in runs average scoring 4.2 runs per game, and 13th in runs allowed by only giving up 4.4 runs scored per game. Moreover, the Yankees are 29th in hits average with 7.5 hits per game.

Yankees vs. Rays: The offense 

The Yankees have poor statistics during most parts of the season such as a .229 AVG (29th overall), .305 OBP (26th overall), .402 SLG (20th overall), and .707 OPS (22nd overall). The constant hitting struggles did not change even with the hire of a new hitting coach.

The Rays have displayed an elite level of hitting as they sustained the following statistics for most of the season: .261 AVG (4th overall), .332 OBP (4th overall), .450 SLG (4th overall) and .782 OPS (4th overall).

Yankees vs. Rays: The pitching 

The pitching is what has sustained the Yankees record over the .500 mark. However, once the starting rotation as well as the reliever kept receiving runs and blowing out advantages in the late innings, the Yankees collapsed.

The increased 4.07 ERA ranks 14th in the majors, the 1.24 WHIP ranks 8th overall and the 8.9 K/9 ranks 13th in the league.

The Rays’ 3.89 ERA ranks 18th and the 1.19 WHIP is ranked 12th in the league.

Yankees vs. Rays: Game 1, Aug 25, 2023, 6:40 PM ET

Gerrit Cole’s statistics:

2023 Regular Season1043.0326260160.11701.07
Career Regular Season140753.2229329301810.121001.10
Source: MLB

Gerrit Cole, the Yankees ace, will face the Rays lineup for the fourth time this season. He has impressive numbers as the season comes closer to a finish and looks like a stronger candidate for the AL Cy Young.

Cole currently leads all pitchers in the American League in various pitching statistics, such as 160.1 innings pitched, 3.03 ERA, and 18 Quality Starts. However, Gerrit Cole struggled in the first matchup against the Rays on May 7th, allowing 8 H, 6 R, 2 HR, and 2 walks against 6 strikeouts. Then Cole dominated the Rays in back-to-back starts allowing 2 runs in each, but only earning the win in the last one. Now Gerrit Cole is 1-0 with an ERA of 4.76 and 18 strikeouts in the 3 appearances he had against the Rays. Has given up five home runs against Tampa Bay.

Cole is 3-2 in games on the road, with 2.62 ERA (in eleven games) over 68.2 IP, in which he allowed 56 H, 21 ER, 4 HR, 16 BB versus 66 SO, with a 1.05 WHIP and an opposing batting average of .220 AVG.

Regarding Cole’s performance against some of the Rays, his numbers display successful outings against those batters in the team’s lineup:

 Cole, Gerrit194180445065829.930.5136.70.2440.3720.2940.2150.3620.2890.29.3
 Díaz, Yandy524713201815.423.559.60.2770.3830.3210.2810.3860.3394.50.4
 Lowe, Brandon393450001538.540.9512.80.1470.1470.2020.0850.1060.16378.69.1
 Arozarena, Randy3937101021230.832.812.60.270.4590.3290.2510.4860.33192.618
 Paredes, Isaac1615410042518.816.30.2670.3330.2870.2010.2450.22691.118.9
 Ramírez, Harold11116100218.233.3000.5450.6360.5140.2980.3630.285844.1
 Bethancourt, Christian1010200133023.8000.
 Lowe, Josh760000228.633.3114.3000.0980.2810.6040.42298.8-1.3
 Siri, Jose772002342.930000.2861.1430.5730.2681.0360.53190.926.8
 Bruján, Vidal33000031000000000
 Pinto, René44200025055.6000.50.50.4410.1530.1590.13883.3-0.5
 Stephenson, Robert22000021000000000
 Eflin, Zach22000015050000000.2340.2820.22487.95
 Raley, Luke22000015033.3000000.010.0290.01592.740

Zach Eflin will start for the Rays in the series opener. This RHP leads the American League in wins (13 wins) and his 1.03 WHIP is tied at 1st in the AL along with George Kirby. Eflin has been assigned the role of ace for this Rays team after the loss of McClanahan and Rasmussen, keeping an elite display of pitching that maintains him close to Gerrit Cole in the debate for the AL Cy Young Award winner.

2023 Regular Season1373.5824240138.11361.03
Career Regular Season49524.331511391797.26881.25
Source: MLB

Eflin has a 2-0 record with an ERA of 2.25 and 19 strikeouts in 3 appearances in his last 3 games against the Yankees.

Here are the statistics of the Yankees players that have faced this pitcher:

 Eflin, Zach5755121021729.820.223.50.2180.3450.2560.1920.3910.26285.311.2
 LeMahieu, DJ13123000323.110.517.
 Stanton, Giancarlo881001337.536.4000.1250.50.2520.3371.10.58596.236.8
 Judge, Aaron661000233.350000.1670.1670.1470.2150.4520.289113.8
 Torres, Gleyber770000228.623.1000000.0630.0810.06980.325.8
 Higashioka, Kyle54000012025120000.1380.0220.0350.1568522
 Volpe, Anthony44100025018.2000.250.250.2210.2660.310.253100.24
 Bauers, Jake662100233.312.5000.3330.50.3540.1350.4080.223747.5
 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah2210001500000.50.50.4410.0850.0930.08594.5-15
 Cabrera, Oswaldo22200100250012.51.4440.2690.6610.39370.1-5.5
 Bader, Harrison331000000000.3330.3330.2940.2630.3130.25988.815
 Cole, Gerrit11000011000000000
Source: Baseballsavant

Those statistics display how some of the main players in the Yankees roster have struggled to hit against Eflin, but others like Jake Bauers and Oswaldo Cabrera have found a way to make solid contact. Therefore, it is possible for the Yankees to win this game if they back up Cole’s possible success on the mound with offensive contributions.

The effectiveness of Gerrit Cole’s 4-seamer will definitely be the key to his success in keeping the Rays bats quiet. Zach Eflin could find a way to stop the Yankees in this outing focused on a close-to-perfect combination of his braking pitches to keep the Bronx Bombers off balance. Therefore, the Yankees Batter must have to avoid being fooled by pitches in the lower corners of the zone. This pitching approach helps Efflin generate more batted balls in which the hitters end up batting groundballs.

Yankees vs. Rays Game 2, Aug 26, 2023, 4:10 PM ET

Clarke Schmidt was able to overcome the tough loss he had at Atlanta against the Braves, where he had to leave in the early innings after being punished with 9 runs, to stop the Red Sox slugfest at Yankee Stadium over 5.2 innings of just 2 runs. Despite not getting the win, Clarke Schmidt seems to keep the same pace that made him the second most reliable pitcher of the starting rotation.  Clarke Schmidt is 0-2 with an ERA of 7.36 and 11 strikeouts in 3 appearances in his last 3 games versus the Rays. He has allowed 11 hits and 9 earned runs.

2023 Regular Season874.6826250123.01211.34
Career Regular Season13134.3360302193.11901.36

The record of Clarke Schmidt on the road is 5-3 (in eleven games) with a 5.75 ERA over 51.2 IP, allowing 60 H, 33 ER, 6 HR, 19 BB against 53 SO. The cumulated batting average of .286 and a 1.53 WHIP.

Regarding Schmidt’s performance against the Nationals batters, here are the statistics of those previous clashes:

 Schmidt, Clarke4439103011022.728.936.80.2560.410.30.210.3380.27290.116.5
 Arozarena, Randy980000111.135.3000000.1380.220.1989016.6
 Díaz, Yandy663100008.3000.50.6670.5020.2580.3740.2769123.2
 Ramírez, Harold55110012016.7000.20.40.2520.3540.6140.41688.114.5
 Paredes, Isaac43200112511.11250.6671.6670.9130.1480.2790.3190.124
 Lowe, Brandon43100012533.3000.3330.3330.2210.2670.3130.23189.71.7
 Siri, Jose44310012557.1000.7510.7530.3820.7730.48785.921
 Lowe, Josh320000133.340133.3000.2320.2020.2130.353107.9-6
 Bethancourt, Christian330000310050000000
 Bruján, Vidal22000015066.7000000.0820.1620.09893.824
 Raley, Luke210000000150000.3480.0090.010.35279.177
 Aranda, Jonathan220000000000000.2080.2460.19492.9-14.5
Source: Baseballsavant

The pitcher that will start on the mound for the Rays is RHP Tyler Glasnow and strikeout machine. In the last three starts, Tyler Glasnow cumulated a 2-1 record with a 3.32 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, while striking out 22 in 19.0 innings and allowing 14 H, 7 ER, 5 BB and 2 HR.

2023 Regular Season643.351414080.21101.09
Career Regular Season26243.89120810490.16261.22
Source: MLB

Glasnow faced the New York Yankees once this season, but he is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.37 and 23 strikeouts in the last 3 games versus the Yankees. Tyler Glasnow is 2-2 when pitching at home (in seven games) with a 3.43 ERA in 39.1 IP, 26 H, 17 R, 5 HR, 10 BB, and 58 SO. Glasnow has definitely dominated at home with an impressive .182 AVG and 0.92 WHIP.   

While Schmidt’s 42.3 hard hit % is lower than Glasnow’s, other important pitching category is dominated by the Rays pitcher as his expected batting average (.228 Xba) and Strikeout percentage (33.4%) represent a huge advantage over the Yankees batters in this upcoming matchup.

Schmidt’s strategy to put out batters by ground balls and flyouts will have to be masterfully put on display because of the hitting ability of the Rays.

Glasnow’s combination of high-speed pitches and hard-breaking balls has proven to be effective against this Yankees lineup that has struggled to figure out his pitches and be more offensively productive, besides Giancarlo Stanton.

Yankees vs. Rays Game 3, Aug 27, 2023, 1:40 PM ET

Carlos Rodon’s season has been tougher than expected with fewer ups than downs. In addition to the deficiencies the Yankees are dealing with as a team (mainly with the offensive problems), Rodon’s first season in the pinstripes uniform will end up being considered the second worst of his entire career in the majors. Despite the hard luck had, Rodon dominated the Washington Nationals in his most recent outing, recording a quality start of 6.1 innings of a 1-run game.

2023 Regular Season146.2777033.0261.42
Career Regular Season57503.701591540880.19731.25
Source: MLB

In his previous date against the Rays, Rodon earned the loss after giving up 4 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks versus 5 strikeouts, while tossing a 4 innings start

This season lefty Yankee starter has won a game but lost 4 out of 7 games with a cumulated 6.27 ERA. He is 0-2 on the road with a 9.64 ERA in 9.1 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 3 HR, 7 BB, 9 SO, .222 AVG, and 1.61 WHIP.

Here are the statistics of the players Rodon has faced:

 Rodón, Carlos34297202823.529.3514.70.2410.5170.370.230.4810.35692.210
 Díaz, Yandy993001333.331.8000.3330.6670.4170.2520.4580.29899.913.7
 Paredes, Isaac630000007.1350000.3470.0780.1120.38586.444.3
 Bethancourt, Christian5411000015.41200.250.50.3910.2970.540.42389.15
 Lowe, Brandon541100360701200.250.50.3820.170.4850.351100.923
 Ramírez, Harold5510000036.4000.20.20.1770.2430.2810.23584.6-11
 Arozarena, Randy22100115014.3000.521.0030.4811.9310.983106.931
 Siri, Jose22000015040000000.0540.0650.05189.7-24

The few players that faced Rodon have hit well against him, even though they had a high swing-and-miss strikeout ratio. Therefore being selective with the  4-Seamer, because of the expected slugging of 0.481, would be a good strategy against these Rays batters and the other he has not faced yet.

The pitcher that will start on the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays is no other than the RHP Zack Littell.

2023 Regular Season244.27218052.2471.25
Career Regular Season1594.13166123222.11981.31
Source: MLB

After being claimed off waivers from the Boston Red Sox by the Rays back in May and fully healed of the right shoulder fatigue that took him to the IL, the RHP Zack Littell will attempt to prove his value facing the Yankees in the series finale.

In the last three starts, Zack Littell has a 0-1 record with a 4.76 ERA, with only one quality start and cumulating 16 SO in 17.0 innings pitched, along with 17 H, 9 ER, and 3 HR.

Zack Littell’s season record is 2-3 (in seven games) with a 3.24 ERA in 33.1 IP, 34 H, 12 R, 4 HR, 2 BB, 28 SO, .260 AVG, and 1.08 WHIP.   

Here are the numbers of the active New York Yankees players that had the opportunity to face Zack Littell at home plate before this game:

 Littell, Zack851000008.3337.
 Bauers, Jake20000000021000.690.69
 Bader, Harrison331000000000.3330.3330.2950.170.1970.15961.3-26
 Judge, Aaron10000000011000.690.69
 Torres, Gleyber1100000033.3000000.060.2220.11193.639
 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah110000000000000.0730.0830.09488.6-27
Source: Baseballsavant

Zack Littell has not faced enough Yankees players to have a clear idea of his performance, but based on his recent outings and the expected batting average of 0.129 xBA and expected slugging of 0.179 xSLG, he could hold off the Yankees lineup. Managing to keep them hitting ground balls as shown by his launch angle (-13.2˚) and exit velocity (73.2 mph) could be the key, so the Yankees should be aware of the low pitches in the zone.

Key New York Yankees players

  • Aaron Judge

The Yankees Captain leads the Majors with his 28.6 Barrel% and 97.6 mph Exit velocity, which earns him the most powerful hitter status, proven by his 4 home runs in 2 days. He leads the Yankees in runs batted in with 55 RBIs and also in home runs with 28 HR and has the third highest walks ratio in the majors with 18.1 BB%.

  • Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton has a .222 batting average with 2 hits, a home run, 4 RBIs, and a run scored in 3 games versus the Rays this season.

  • GleyberTorres

Torres leads the Yankees with his .268 AVG and 67 R. He has a .263 batting average with 10 hits, 5 RBIs, and 7 runs scored in 10 games against the Rays this season.

  • Anthony Volpe

Leads the New York Yankees in stolen bases with 20. Has a batting average of .282 with 11 hits, 3 homers, 6 RBIs and 4 runs scored in 10 games versus the Rays.

  • Harrison Bader

Harrison Bader is hitting .303 with 10 hits, 2 homers, 7 RBIs, and 8 runs scored in 10 games against the Rays this season.

  • DJ LeMahieu

DJ LeMahieu has a .289 batting average with 11 hits, 2 RBIs, and 4 runs scored in 10 games against the Rays this season.

Key Tampa Bay Rays players

  • Randy Arozarena

Leads the Tampa Bay Rays with his 79 runs scored.

Randy Arozarena has a .270 batting average with 10 hits, 3 home runs, 8 RBIs and 5 runs scored in 10 games versus the Yankees this season.

  • Yandy Díaz

Leads the Tampa Bay Rays in batting average with his .326 AVG. Yandy Díaz has a batting average of .314 with 11 hits, 3 home runs, 8 RBIs, and 10 runs scored in 10 games against the Yankees this season.

  • Harold Ramírez

Harold Ramírez has a batting average of .286 with 6 hits, an RBI, and 3 runs scored in 6 games versus the Yankees this season.

  • Luke Raley

Luke Raley is hitting .333 with 6 hits and a run scored in 6 games versus the Yankees this season.

  • Josh Lowe

Josh Lowe is batting .214 with 6 hits, 3 homers, 9 RBIs and 5 runs scored in 9 games versus the Yankees this season.

  • Isaac Paredes

Leads the Tampa Bay Rays in offensive production with his 26 home runs and 80 runs batted in. Isaac Paredes has a .379 batting average with 11 hits, a home run, 5 RBIs, and 7 runs scored in 10 games against the Yankees this season.

  • Osleivis Basabe

This rookie SS in just 10 games played has 12 H, 9 R, 9 RBI, .333 AVG, .385 OBP, .500 SLG, and .885 OPS.

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