The Tampa Bay Rays will have a hard time concentrating on baseball Monday, when they host the New York Yankees in the opener of a three-game series to be played at Citi Field - home of the New York Mets - due to Hurricane Irma’s arrival in Florida. The Rays ended a three-game slide with a 4-1 victory over Boston on Sunday as Irma was reaching shore on the Southwest Coast of Florida and barreling toward Tampa and St. Petersburg.
“There’s a lot of guys in this locker room that could wake up tomorrow and not have a place to live, me included,” Monday’s scheduled starter Jake Odorizzi told the Tampa Bay Times. “A lot of us wake up and it’s mass destruction, whatever it is, it’s going to be tough to focus on a baseball game.” The Rays are 3 ½ games out in the race for the American League’s second wild card and Odorizzi hopes to provide some inspiration with his third straight win while facing the veteran CC Sabathia on Monday. The Yankees have won six of their last eight to grab a comfortable hold of the top wild-card spot and move within 3 ½ games of first-place Boston in the AL East. Aaron Judge became the second rookie in major-league history to slug 40 homers (41), joining Mark McGwire (49 in 1987), with two blasts and Gary Sanchez (10-for-21 in last five games) also went deep twice for the Yankees in Sunday’s 16-7 rout of Texas.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, YES (New York), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees LH CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (8-7, 4.58)
Sabathia escaped with a no-decision last time out at Baltimore after surrendering five runs and eight hits - three homers - over 5 1/3 innings in a 7-6 setback. The 37-year-old gave up a total of four runs in 19 frames over his previous three outings, picking up a pair of victories along the way. Evan Longoria is 32-for-76 with eight homers, 17 RBIs and 15 walks against Sabathia, who is 16-14 with a 3.80 ERA in a career-most 44 starts against the Rays.
Odorizzi has won his last two starts, including Tuesday’s outing against Minnesota in which he permitted one hit over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. The 27-year-old Illinois native has had trouble keeping the ball in the park as he has surrendered 28 homers in 24 starts, including two in a loss to the Yankees in his season debut. Matt Holliday is 3-for-7 with two blasts versus Odorizzi, who is 5-6 with a 4.40 ERA in 13 career appearances (12 starts) against the Yankees.
1. Judge worked his 107th walk of the season Sunday to set a new major-league rookie record, eclipsing the mark set in 1942 by Les Fleming.
2. Rays 1B/DH Lucas Duda, who returns to the stadium in which he started the season as a member of the Mets, has gone deep four times in six games and is one away from his second 30-homer campaign.
3. Yankees INF Chase Headley (13-for-36, three homers, six RBIs) and OF Jacoby Ellsbury (12-for-28, five RBIs) both have hit safely in nine straight games.
PREDICTION: Yankees 5, Rays 3