Chris Archer (6-5, 2.95 ERA) faces Hiroki Kuroda (11-8, 2.41 ERA) when the Rays (72-53) play the first of a three-game series against the Yankees (68-59) tonight at Tropicana Field. Today’s game is set to start at 7:10 p.m. and can be seen on Sun Sports.
Archer is searching for his 100th career strikeout and has a 2-0 record with a 0.60 ERA in his career vs. the Yankees. Kuroda holds a 2-1 record with a 6.10 ERA in his career vs. the Rays. The Rays hope to put an end to the Yankees five game winning streak. Tampa Bay leads the head-to-head season series against New York, 7-6. In their last game, the Rays fell 4-2 to the Orioles, while the Yankees earned a victory over the Blue Jays 5-3. The Rays offense has hit .260 with 15 home runs against the Yankees this season.
If the Rays can take this series from the Yankees, while the A’s take their series in Baltimore,the race for the playoffs would be much more clean and clear. As they say in racing the Rays would have plenty of clean air between them and Boston.
Meanwhile, both the Yankees and Baltimore would be battling each other to stay in the race. As I have said many times, when it comes to this part of the season it is all about the math. It far more difficult to get to first place from either, third or fourth place. The reason is simple, you must then rely on others to help you get to the top. However, the Rays stand just a single game out of first place in the AL East, with a big three game series against the division leading Red Sox coming up starting September 10th at the Trop.
So for the Rays the focus remains the Red Sox and for now what is going on in the review mirror, should be checked once in a while but not worthy of concern.