The New York Yankees are not done yet in their pursuit of the American League East title and look to move a little closer when they host the Tampa Bay Rays for the middle contest of their three-game series on Wednesday. The Yankees won for the 17th time in 23 contests with a 6-1 triumph on Tuesday and moved within three games of first-place Boston in the AL East with five remaining.
Aaron Judge extended his hitting streak to nine games (13-for-32, seven homers, 13 RBIs) and Starlin Castro remained hot with three hits to improve to 6-for-10 over his last three contests for New York. Luis Severino, who is slated to pitch in the AL wild-card game on Tuesday if the Yankees don’t win the division, will take the mound Wednesday in his final regular-season start while Tampa Bay counters with Matt Andriese. The Rays officially were eliminated from playoff contention with their 11th loss in 17 games against New York this season, but Steven Souza Jr. went 3-for-3 and has scored six runs in his last five contests. Wilson Ramos is 8-for-14 with eight RBIs over his last four games after knocking in Tampa Bay’s only run with a sacrifice fly as New York center fielder Aaron Hicks robbed him of a grand slam in the first inning.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), WPIX (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Matt Andriese (5-4, 4.44 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Luis Severino (13-6, 3.03)
Andriese is winless in his last seven appearances after posting a quality start against Baltimore last time out, when he allowed three runs over six innings on Thursday. The 28-year-old Californian is 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in five outings since coming off the disabled list and 1-4 with a 5.60 ERA on the road in 2017. Judge is 5-for-9 with two homers versus Andriese, who is 2-2 with a 5.64 ERA in seven career games (five starts) against the Yankees.
Severino ended a stretch of six straight quality starts last time out as he allowed three runs on five hits and a walk across three innings against likely wild-card game opponent Minnesota. The 23-year-old Dominican registered a 1.55 ERA over his previous six turns and is 8-2 since the All-Star break. Corey Dickerson is 4-for-8 with a homer against Severino, who is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA in nine career games (five starts) versus the Rays.
1. Tampa Bay CF Kevin Kiermaier, who recorded two hits on Tuesday, is batting .314 since returning from a hip injury in mid-August.
2. New York CF Jacoby Ellsbury was rested Tuesday but is 26-for-72 with 13 walks, eight doubles and 18 runs scored this month.
3. Rays 3B Evan Longoria needs one homer to reach 20 for the ninth time in his first 10 major-league seasons.
PREDICTION: Yankees 6, Rays 3