Rays-Yankees: Is this a Playoff Preview?
The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees are set to square off against each other for the eighth and final time of the abbreviated 2020 regular season. This rivalry, which stretches back to the early years of the Rays’ organization, has been intense over the years. However, this year the two teams have been separated by mere feet over seven meetings. With the playoffs approaching, could this eighth meeting be a playoff preview?
Both Tampa Bay and New York have had their share of wins over each other this season. The Rays have won four out of the seven meetings, while the Yankees have managed to win three games. The teams have been incredibly evenly matched and truly separated by just inches. In fact, they’ve played so closely that only two runs have separated them after their first seven contests.
At first glance, it seems that the Yankees have had the better season. They are currently in second place in the American League East, while the Rays sit in second place in the American League. New York has also had star players like Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres struggling with injuries throughout the season.
Despite the injuries, the Yankees lineup continues to produce runs thanks to players like DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, and Clint Frazier, who have all provided a spark. Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole has lived up to his hefty price tag, posting a 6-3 record with a 3.00 ERA so far this season.
The Rays, on the other hand, have been an incredibly deep and resilient team. Their starting pitching has been one of the best in the league, led by Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell, and Ryan Yarbrough. Their batting order hasn’t been as explosive as the Yankees, but they’ve been able to manufacture runs when needed.
What’s even more impressive about the Rays is their ability to constantly shuffle their players around, playing the matchups and taking advantage of platoons to maximize their roster’s potential. This will be especially important come playoff time, as experience has shown that depth and flexibility can be key factors in winning games.
Despite the Rays’ success so far this season, the Yankees have the advantage of a more experienced and battle-tested roster come playoff time. The Rays have some postseason experience, but their young core has yet to make a deep run in October. The Yankees have missed the playoffs only once since 2016 and have the talent and experience to make it all the way.
However, as evidenced by their first seven meetings this season, Rays-Yankees games are always close and unpredictable. Anything can happen in a playoff series, and with both teams playing at the top of their game, this eighth and final meeting could be a preview of what’s to come in the postseason.
In conclusion, the eighth and final meeting between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees is shaping up to be yet another intense matchup. Both teams have shown that they are evenly matched and that their rivalry is as strong as ever. While it remains to be seen whether this game is a true preview of what’s to come in the playoffs, it’s sure to be an exciting matchup that baseball fans won’t want to miss.