The Tampa Bay Rays are four games back of the Yankees (and the Orioles) in the A.L. East standings.
On the season, the Rays are 77-66 and they are coming off a 3-game series in Baltimore where they were swept.
Also, the Rays have lost 11 of their last 18 games. But, you cannot blame their pitching for this fact. In those 18 games, their team ERA is 3.18 (in 164 IP). And, this is right in line with what they have been doing all season – as Tampa leads the A.L. in team ERA with a mark of 3.23.
The Yankees will now face the Rays for three games at Yankee Stadium. This season, to date, the Yankees are only 6-9 against Tampa Bay.
In the series, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda will start games for New York.
The next three games against the Rays will be an excellent test for the Yankees. They need to win at least two of these games. Time is running out on their season as there are only 19 games left to play in the 2012 regular season. Tampa Bay needs these games as well – given where they are, the date, and how they have played recently.
This one should be a dog fight. And, how the teams play in these games will tell their fans a lot about how much of a shot they have at making the post-season this year.