Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Sports Gaming Monitor

MLB Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (30-11) at New York Yankees (23-18)


THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY — The Rays dropped game three of the four-game set with the Yankees yesterday afternoon by a score of 9-8…Tampa Bay led 6-0 in the fifth inning, but New York responded with nine runs, including four in the fifth inning and five in the sixth inning…it marked the largest come-from-behind victory for the Yankees this season (prev. 3R on 4/12 at CLE) and their largest deficit overcome in a win since 7/23/19 at Minnesota (trailed 8-2, won 14-12).

LHP Shane McClanahan did not factor into the decision after allowing a season-high four runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts over 4.0 innings.

1B Yandy Díaz (2-for-4, HR, 4RBI, 2R) hit his first career grand slam…it was the third grand slam hit by Tampa Bay this year (Isaac Paredes 4/7 vs. OAK and Brandon Lowe 4/9 vs. OAK)…his 4 RBI matched a career high (3x, last 9/4/21 vs. MIN).

According to Elias, it marked the Rays first loss after having a lead of six or more runs since 7/27/19 at Toronto (led 9-2, lost 10-9).

Five of the six matchups between the Rays and Yankees this season have been decided by one run…last season, seven of the 19 matchups were decided by one run…five of Tampa Bay’s 11 losses this year have been by one run.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS — Earlier today, the Rays added RHP Zack Littell to the 26-man roster and RHP Javy Guerra was designated for assignment…Littel, 27, is 13-5 with 4.17 ERA (172.2IP, 80ER) and three saves in 147 career appearances (4 starts) between Minnesota (2018-2020), San Francisco (2021-2022) and Boston (2023).

FOLLOW THE LEADER — Yandy Díaz has hit safely in 11 straight games since 5/3, batting .318 (14-for-44) with three doubles, 3 HR and 8 RBI during the run…the 11-game stretch is tied for the second-longest hitting streak of his career (9/24/18-4/5/19)…with a hit today, he would match his career-best 12-game hitting streak from 6/26-7/8, 2022.

His 11-game hitting streak is the longest by a Tampa Bay hitter this season, surpassing 10-game runs from Randy Arozarena (3/30-4/10) and Harold Ramírez (4/12-4/24)…the last Ray with a hitting streak of 12 games was Wander Franco (13G) from 9/14-27, 2022.

He owns a 17-game on-base streak vs. the Yankees dating back to 6/21/22, batting .318 (21-for-66) four doubles, 2 HR, 15 RBI, nine walks and nine runs during that stretch.

Díaz has reached base safely in 22 of his last 23 games overall, going .365/.460/.635 (31-for-85) at the plate with five doubles, 6 HR, 15 RBI and 13 walks in that span… during that stretch (since 4/18), Díaz ranks among qualified major leaguers in OBP (2nd), batting average (2nd), OPS (3rd, 1.095) and SLG (5th).

He leads all qualified AL lead-off hitters in AVG (.317), OBP (.425), SLG (.583), OPS (1.008), homers (10) and total bases (81).

RANDY LAND — Randy Arozarena has reached base safely in 23 consecutive starts since 4/17, marking the longest such streak of his career and the longest by a Rays player since Yandy Díaz’s 24-game streak from 8/23-9/30/22.

His five games with 3+ RBI are tied with HOU Yordan Alvarez (5G), TEX Jonah Heim (5G) and TEX Josh Jung (5G), for fourth most in the majors, trailing BAL Cedric Mullins (6G), ATL Sean Murphy (6G) and OAK Brent Rooker (6G).

Arozarena’s 14 multi-hit games are tied with Wander Franco for the club lead.

THE BAY BOMBERS — The Rays have hit a major league-best 80 home runs, the third-most long balls through a club’s first 41 games in MLB history (since 1901), trailing only the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals (85HR) and 1999 Seattle Mariners (83HR)…the 2000 Cardinals also hold the record for most homers through 42 games (88HR), followed by the 1999 Mariners (84HR).

Tampa Bay has out-homered opponents, 80-30 (+50)…its 30 homers allowed are second-fewest in the majors, behind Seattle (26HR).

The Rays have an MLB-best 23 multi-homer games, ahead of Los Angeles-NL (20G)…Tampa Bay’s 13 games with 3+ HR also pace MLB, ahead of Los Angeles-NL (12G).

Tampa Bay’s 23 go-ahead home runs lead the AL and trail only Angeles-NL (24) for the most in MLB…58 of the Rays 80 total homers have been solo shots.

The Rays homered in each of their first 22 games, the longest streak to open a season in MLB history…marked the longest home run streak at any point in a single season since the 2019 Houston Astros (25G, 9/1-29, 2019)…Tampa Bay has gone deep in 36 of its 41 games overall in 2023.

THERE’S NO “I” IN TEAM — The Rays have an MLB-best six players with 20 RBI, including Randy Arozarena (34), Josh Lowe (28), Yandy Díaz (24), Wander Franco (23), Isaac Paredes (22) and Brandon Lowe (20)…three qualified Tampa Bay hitters are batting .300 or better, tied with Toronto for the MLB lead (Randy Arozarena – .329, Yandy Díaz – .317 and Wander Franco – .304)…nine Rays have hit 6+ homers, most in the majors, ahead of Atlanta and Los-Angeles-NL (6 players each)…Tampa Bay is also the only major league club with 10 players who have recorded 10+ extra-base hits (2nd: BOS and LAD, 8 players).

LEADING THE PACK — The Rays pace the majors in runs scored (252) while surrendering the fewest runs (133)…Tampa Bay’s +119 run differential is the seventh-best mark through the first 41 games of a season in MLB history (since 1901), trailing only the 1912 New York Giants (+139), 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (+136), 1939 New York Yankees (+135), 1905 New York Giants (+131), 1929 Philadelphia Athletics (+127) and 1936 New York Yankees (+120).

ON THE MOUND — Tampa Bay’es 3.17 ERA is the best mark in the majors, ahead of Houston (3.25)…this includes the best starter ERA (2.94) and the seventh-best bullpen ERA (3.41)…Rays pitchers pace the majors in opponents’ average (.212), hits per 9.0IP (7.03) and pitches per game (139.2).

IN THE BOX — Rays hitters lead MLB in OPS (.856), OBP (.348), SLG (.508), batting average (.276), extra-base hits (162), total bases (712), home runs per game (1.95), run differential per game (2.90) and at-bats per home run (17.51).

ADVANCED TALK — According to Baseball Savant, Tampa Bay ranks among MLB leaders in hard hit percentage (1st, 45.2%), barreled balls (1st, 122), barrel percentage (2nd, 11.4%) and exit velocity (2nd, 90.6 mph).

BRING ON THE BRONX BOMBERS — Tampa Bay and New York meet for the seventh of 13 matchups this season…the Rays took two of three from the Yankees from 5/5-7 at Tropicana Field, including a six-run come-from-behind victory in the series finale.

Tampa Bay went 3-6 at Yankee Stadium last season, including a three-game sweep at the hands of New York from 6/14-16.

TODAY’S START — Right-hander Zach Eflin makes his seventh start of the season in today’s series finale in New York, including his third on the road…marks his first career start in Yankee Stadium…has not allowed an earned run in two career starts opposite the Yankees spanning 11.0 innings…has tossed 6.0+ innings in back-to-back starts for the first time since 5/28-6/3, 2022…enters today’s game 6.2 innings shy of reaching 700.0 IP for his career.

LAST TIME OUT — Took his first loss of the season on 5/9 at Baltimore (6.0IP, 7H, 4ER, BB, 4SO)…retired the first six batters he faced before allowing four runs over the third and fourth frames, including a tworun homer by Adley Rutschman…the four runs marked a season high and were Eflin’s most in an outing since 6/19/22 at Washington (also 4R)BACK IN THE BRONX—Today’s outing will mark Eflin’s third career outing against the Yankees, including his first since 8/6/20 as a member of Philadelphia…has not allowed a run in 11.0 IP against New York, holding opposing hitters to a .200 average (8-for-40) with 11 strikeouts compared to three walks…in his first career appearance against the Pinstripes on 6/28/18, he tossed 7.0 scoreless frames in Philadelphia’s 3-0 win (7.0IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 6SO).

Eflin is 3-5 with a 4.96 ERA (61.2IP, 34ER) in 13 career appearances (11 starts) against AL East opponents, recording 10.22 strikeouts per 9.0 IP, his highest mark against any division in his career, ahead of the AL Central (7.64)…he has gone 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA (20.0IP, 20ER) in five career games (4 starts) on the road against the division, allowing 4+ earned runs in all four of his starts.

QUALITY CONTROL — Eflin’s 8.75 SO/BB ratio ranks fourth in the AL and tied with ARI Zac Gallen for fifth in the majors (min. 30.0IP), trailing only SEA George Kirby (11.67), TEX Jacob deGrom (11.25) and TOR Kevin Gausman (9.57)…he joins Kirby (35SO, 3BB) and deGrom (45SO, 4BB) as the
only pitchers in the majors with 35+ strikeouts and four or fewer walks. Ê Since the beginning of 2020, Eflin’s 4.4 pct. walk rate ranks second in the majors, behind only TEX Nathan Eovaldi’s 4.3 pct. (min. 1,000BF).

GONE FISHING — Opposing hitters are offering at 38.4 pct. of Eflin’s pitches outside of the strike zone, the third-highest chase rate in the majors (min. 100BF) behind MIN Joe Ryan (40.0%) and BOS Kutter Crawford (39.5%). AHEAD OF THE CURVE—Eflin’s curveball has induced a 37.3 pct. whiff rate, fifth-highest on any AL pitcher’s curve (min. 100 curveballs thrown)… his 31.1 pct. putaway percentage (pct. of two-strike pitches resulting in a strikeout) is second-highest under the same parameters, trailing only HOU Phil Maton (32.5%).

Eflin has turned to his curveball 28.e2 pct. of the time since returning from the injured list on 4/23…in his two start prior to his IL stint, he used his curveball at a 7.5 pct. rate…on the season, his 26.5 pct. usage rate on the offering is fifth-highest on any AL pitcher’s curve (min. 400 total pitches thrown).

STARTING STRONG — Eflin is holding opponents to a .192/.222/.365 (10-for-52) clip the first time through the order…the second time through, opponents are slashing .294/.333/.490 (15-for-51) against him…is holding opposing hitters to a .105 average (2-for-19) in his first inning of work.

A LITTLE HELP? — Over his first three starts from 4/1-4/23, Eflin received 12.38 runs of support per 9.0 IP, the highest mark in MLB in that span (min. 3GS)…in his last four starts since 4/28, the Rays have provided him with a 3.00 run support average, 10th-lowest in the AL in that span (min. 15.0IP).

FLIP THE SCRIPT — Eflin has held left-handed hitters to a .190 average (12-for-63) this season, the ninth-lowest mark in the AL (min. 60 LH BF) compared to a .284 average (16-for-58) vs. right-handed batters…however, in his career, Eflin has allowed a .275 batting average to lefties and a .260 average to righties.

AT A GLANCE: The Yankees will complete their seven-game homestand today with the final game of a four-game set vs. Tampa Bay (2-1 thus far)…are 5-1 on the homestand after recording their first sweep of the season vs. Oakland and winning two of their first three games vs. Tampa Bay.

Have won five of their last six games and are 8-3 in their last 11 games.

Including their current series, have won or split nine of their 13 series this season (are 7-4-1 in their 12 completed series).

Are 10 days into a 17-day stretch (5/5-21) without an off day (6-3 so far)…are also in a 34-day stretch with just one off day (4/18-5/21).

Are in a stretch of playing 7-of-10 games vs. the Rays (5/5- 14)…are 3-3 so far.

Are also in a stretch of playing 11-of-14 games (5/5-18) and 14-of-20 games (5/5-25) against the AL East.

YESTERDAY’S NEWS: The Yankees overcame a six-run deficit to defeat the Rays, 9-8, at Yankee Stadium on Saturday…LHP Nestor Cortes (4.1IP, 7H, 6R/ER, 2BB, 3K, 1HR) made his shortest start of the season…DH Aaron Judge (2-for-4, 2R, 2HR, 4RBI, 1BB) recorded his 29th career multi-HR game and second of the season, hitting a two-run HR in the fifth inning and a go-ahead two-run HR in the sixth inning…C Kyle Higashioka (1-for-1,
1R, 1HR, 2RBI, 1BB) hit his third HR of the season with a two-run HR in the fifth inning…PH/LF Oswaldo Cabrera (1-for-2, 2RBI) hit a two-run single in the sixth inning…1B Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5, 1R, 1 double) recorded a season-high-tying 3H…SS Anthony Volpe (1-for-4, 1R, 2SB) recorded a bunt single in the sixth inning and stole second and third base before scoring on a wild pitch…2B Gleyber Torres (0-for-3, 2R, 2BB), 3B DJ LeMahieu (1-for-4, 1R, 1BB) and RF Jake Bauers (1-for-3, 1R, 1BB) each reached base twice…RHP Jimmy Cordero (1.2IP, 1H, 2K) recorded his third win of the season after tossing 1.2 scoreless innings…LHP Wandy Peralta (1.0IP, 1BB, 1K) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record his second save of the season.

COMEBACK KIDS: The Yankees recorded their ninth comeback win of the season on Saturday as they overcame a six-run deficit…marked their largest deficit overcome in a win this season (previous: 3R on 4/12 at Cleveland) and their largest deficit overcome in a win since 7/23/19 at Minnesota (won 14-12 after they were trailing 8-2).

Six of the Yankees’ last eight wins have been come-from-behind wins.

NOBODY BEATS THE RIZZ: INF Anthony Rizzo recorded a season-high-tying 3H on Saturday (also 4/13 vs. Minnesota and 4/20 vs. Los Angeles-AL), marking his team-leading 12th multi-hit game of the season…has multiple hits in five of his last six games and seven of his last 11 games.

Owns a 12-game on-base streak (since 5/1), batting .375/.444/.583 (18-for-48) with 13R, 1 double, 3HR, 7RBI and 6BB over that stretch.…marks his longest on-base streak since a 12-game streak from 10/4/22(G1)- 4/11/23…his last longer streak was a 17-game streak with the Cubs from 4/28-5/17/21.

Has reached base via H/BB/HP in 17-of-32 plate appearances over his last seven games (12H, 5BB, .531 OBP).

Has reached base in 16 of his last 17 games and 35 of his 40 games this season.

Has reached base in 23-of-24 games at home this season, hitting .375/.451/.659 (33-for-88) with 18R, 4 doubles, 7HR, 15RBI, 10BB, 3HP and 1SF in those games…his .375 BA at home is the highest in the AL and second-highest in the Majors…has hit safely in 21 of 24 home games.

Is batting .323/.394/.528 (41-for-127) with 23R, 5 doubles, 7HR, 16RBI, 11BB and 4HP in his last 33 games (since 4/9).

Has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games and 14 of his last 17 games.

Has reached base multiple times in eight of his last 11G.

DARTH BADER: OF Harrison Bader has reached base in 10 of 11 games this season, batting .342/.390/.684 (13-for-38) with 8R, 2 triples, 3HR, 11RBI, 2BB and 1HP.

JAKE RAKES: INF/OF Jake Bauers is batting .455 (5-for-11) with 3R, 1HR, 3RBI, 2BB and 1SF in his last five games.

Has reached base multiple times in four of his last six starts.

ALL RISE: OF Aaron Judge recorded his 29th career multi-HR game and second of the season on Saturday (also 4/9 at Baltimore), hitting a two-run HR in the fifth inning and a go-ahead two-run HR in the sixth inning.

His 29 multi-HR games are tied with Alex Rodriguez for the fifth-most multi-HR games in franchise history… trails only Babe Ruth (68), Mickey Mantle (46), Lou Gehrig (43) and Joe DiMaggio (35).

Four of his eight home runs this season have given the Yankees the lead…since the start of 2019, 70 of his 145HR have tied the game (14) or given the Yankees the lead (56).

The Yankees have gone 149-50 in his career when he homers…since 2020, the Yankees are 77-21 in those games.

His 228 career HR are the most by any Major League player through his first 760 career games (previous: Ryan Howard-227HR).

MAGIC WANDY: LHP Wandy Peralta tossed a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday to record his second save of the season… marked the second time in his career he has recorded a save in back-to-back appearances (also 8/23-26/22)…marked the first time in his career he has recorded a save on back-to-back days.  Has not allowed a run over his last nine appearances (7.1IP).

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: According to Elias, INF Anthony Volpe is the first Yankee to steal his first 13 career bases without getting caught (since 1921 when caught stealing was first recorded in the American League)…surpassed Joe DiMaggio (first 12SB with 0CS from 1936-38).

Has reached base in 10 of his last 13 starts and 24 of his last 29 starts.

His 13SB are the fourth-most by a Yankee through his first 41 career games, trailing only Fritz Maisel (21SB in 1913), Bert Daniels (19SB in 1910) and Cozy Dolan (17SB from 1911-12).

His 13SB are the third-most by a Yankee through the club’s first 41 games of a season in the last 22 years (since 2002), trailing only Brett Gardner’s 17SB in 2010 and Jacoby Ellsbury’s 14SB in 2015.

BRONX BOMBERS: The Yankees have hit 23HR in 12 games during the month of May, the most home runs in the Majors in that span.

Their 57HR this season are the second-most in the AL and the fifth-most in the Majors.

Have hit multiple HR in six of their last seven games and eight of their last 11 games (since 5/2).

Have recorded at least eight hits in 10 of their last 11 games.

Have scored at least 6R in six of their last seven games (since 5/7), scoring 52R in that span.

Have hit 43HR in 25 games at home this season, the most in the Majors…have hit multiple HR in seven of their last eight games at Yankee Stadium (since 5/2).

GLEYBER DAY: INF Gleyber Torres has reached base in each of his last nine games (since 5/5) and 19 of his last 22 games (since 4/20).

Has 22BB in 40 games this season…did not record his 22nd walk in 2022 until his 77th game on 7/12/22 vs. Cincinnati…his 7.55 PA/BB (166PA/22BB) rate is the second-best of his career (7.27 in a 60-game shortened season in 2020).

Has 4BB in his last four games.

His 7.90 PA/K (166PA/21K) rate this season is also the best of his career.

LEMACHINE: INF DJ LeMahieu owns a season-high 12-game on-base streak (since 4/30)…marks his longest on-base streak since a 12-game streak from 7/10-24/22…his last longer streak was a 15-game streak from 4/12-29/22.

Has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Yankees have won or split seven of their eight series at home this season (going 5-1-1 in their seven completed series)…are 12-5 in their last 17 home games (since 4/15).

FUN IN THE SUN: The Yankees are 13-5 in day games this season.

RHP Clarke Schmidt will make his ninth start of the season today’s series finale vs. Tampa Bay…the 27-year-old will make the start on regular four days’ rest… made his eighth start of the season on Tuesday vs. Oakland, earning his first win of the season after allowing just 2ER over a career-high 6.0IP (5H, 2BB, 7K, 1HR, 1WP)…has tossed at least 5.0IP in three of his last four starts after not doing so in his first four starts this season…has allowed 2ER-or-fewer in three of his last four starts…has recorded at least 7K in three of his last four starts…struck out Ezequiel Durán (swinging) in the fifth inning on 4/28 at Texas for his 100th career strikeout…made his second career Opening Day roster in 2023 (also 2022)…in 2022, went 5-5 with two saves and a 3.12 ERA (57.2IP, 46H, 23R/20ER, 23BB, 56K, 5HR) in 29 appearances (three starts) over four stints with the Yankees…in three starts, went 0-2 with a 4.63 ERA (11.2IP, 13H, 6ER, 2BB, 14K, 0HR)…as a reliever, went 5-3 with two saves and a 2.74 ERA (46.0IP, 33H, 17R/14ER, 21BB, 42K, 5HR) in 26 games…tossed at least 2.0 innings in 13 of his relief appearances and at least 3.0 innings in five of those relief appearances…was selected by the Yankees in the first round (16th overall) of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina.

LAST TIME OUT: Made his eighth start of the season on Tuesday vs. Oakland, earning his first win of the season after allowing just 2ER over a career-high 6.0IP (5H, 2BB, 7K, 1HR, 1WP)…marked his first career win as a starter…reached 100.0 career innings in the first inning…allowed an RBI single to Jace Peterson in the second inning and a solo HR to Jordan Diaz in the fourth.

VS. TAMPA BAY: Will be making his third career start and seventh appearance against the Rays…in six career appearances (two starts) vs. Tampa Bay (all in 2022), has gone 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA (12.0IP, 9H, 3ER, 2BB, 12K, 1HR, 1HP).

In his two career starts vs. the Rays, is 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA (7.1IP, 2ER) and 7K.

Has not allowed a run in two appearances (one start) over 5.0IP vs. Tampa Bay at Yankee Stadium (2H, 1BB, 9K).

HOME SWEET HOME: Has made 20 appearances (seven starts) in his career at Yankee Stadium, going 3-4 with one save and a 3.48 ERA (54.1IP, 49H, 28R/21ER, 22BB, 59K, 9HR) in those games.

Is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA (23.0IP, 9ER) and 29K in five starts at home this season (4/1 vs. San Francisco, 4/18 vs. Los Angeles-AL, 4/23 vs. Toronto, 5/3 vs. Cleveland and Tuesday vs. Oakland)…has allowed 3R-or-fewer in four of those starts.

In 13 games (one start) at home in 2022, went 2-1 with one save and a 2.49 ERA (25.1IP, 16H, 8R/7ER, 12BB, 22K, 3HR)…allowed 1R-or-fewer in 2 of those appearances…tossed at least 2.0 innings in eight appearances and 3.0 innings in four of those games (all of which were scoreless).

2023: Has made eight starts this season, going 1-3 with a 5.35 ERA (35.1IP, 46H, 26R/21ER, 11BB, 43K, 8HR)…has tossed at least 5.0IP in three of his last four starts after not doing so in his first four starts this season… has recorded at least 7K in three of his last four starts.

Tossed a career-high 6.0IP on Tuesday vs. Oakland.

Recorded a career-high-tying 8K in back-to-back starts on 4/23 vs. Toronto and 4/28 at Texas.

Has allowed 1BB-or-fewer in five of his eight starts.

Has surrendered at least 1HR in six of his eight starts.

Made his second career Opening Day roster.

FOR STARTERS: Will be making his 14th career start…over his first 13 career Major League starts (eight in 2023, three in 2022, one in 2021, one in 2020), is 1-6 with a 5.20 ERA (55.1IP, 70H, 40R/32ER, 18BB, 63K, 9HR)…has tossed at least 5.0IP in three of his last four starts after not doing so in his first nine career starts.

Is 1-3 with a 5.35 ERA (35.1IP, 21ER) and 43K in eight starts in 2023…tossed a career-high 6.0IP on Tuesday vs. Oakland…recorded a career-high-tying 8K on 4/23 vs. Toronto and 4/28 at Texas.

Went 0-2 with a 4.63 ERA (11.2IP, 6ER) and 14K in his three starts in 2022 (6/16 vs. Tampa Bay, 8/28 at Oakland, 9/3 at Tampa Bay).

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