The Yankees are back in New York after a 5-5-road trip to host the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game set at the stadium starting tonight.

James Shields at Yankee Stadium.

Last time these two teams met was the start of the 2012 season, and the Rays swept the Yankees right out of Tropicana Field.

The Rays stand atop the AL East, tied with the Orioles with a 19-10 record but are coming to the Bronx on a two game losing streak.

Still, the 15-13 Yankees are the ones looking up at the Rays and have a perfect opportunity to make a move in the division and get some of their pride back.

The Rays are without third baseman Evan Longoria, and possibly Desmond Jennings too; but the Yankees will be without Mariano Rivera for the first time at home since 2003 along with a slew of others, including Brett Gardner, on their lengthy DL list.

The pitching match-ups are as follows, along with my predictions:

Tuesday: James Shields (5-0) vs. Ivan Nova (3-1)

Shields is clearly the better pitcher, but the recent awaken of Robbie Cano’s bat could give him some problems as Cano has hit four homers, five doubles, two triples and posts a .400 batting average against Shields. Cano was not a factor for Shields in their earlier meeting this season.

Nova is coming off his first loss after a 15-game winning streak but I do like the way he has pitched lately. He is reminding me of a 2010 Hughes, as he is getting a ton of run support. He has held the Rays to a .170 batting average, allowing two homers, three RBIs, three walks, while striking out 10 of the 47 total at-bats he has logged against them.(…)
Read the rest of Yankees vs. Rays: Series deux preview

© Kate for Lady Loves Pinstripes, 2012. |
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