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AL East Showdown – New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays ALDS Preview
Photo Courtesy of Newsday

AL East Showdown – New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays ALDS Preview

You want to see what stepping up in the playoffs looks like? How about turning a grounder to left field into a double play to keep your hopes alive in the bottom of the eighth. That’s what the Yankees did in game two of the American League Card Series and they look to have more where that came from for their division rival.

The Tampa Bay Rays took care of business as expected in the Wild Card round but their greatest test is yet to come. This will be their second division opponent this postseason and one they won’t just run through. The Rays aren’t one to back down from a anyone, so expect a great series.

 

By The Numbers:*

New York Yankees (2-0) Tampa Bay Rays (2-0)
7 Home runs (1) 3 Home runs (T-4)
.307 Batting Avg (T-2) .254 Batting Avg (5)
6.00 ERA (13) 1.50 ERA (5)
.254 Opp Batting Avg (11) .188 Opp Batting Avg (5)

*Wild Card Series Numbers

 

This is a matchup that numbers can’t dictate. Both these teams know each other’s tendencies and weaknesses in and out and will try to exploit them for their own gain.

The Yankees offense has exploded as expected here in the postseason, scoring almost half of their runs on home runs alone. As I have said before, if the bats of the Yankees catch fire, the rest will fall into place. They are a front running team and right now the big three of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu are pushing them out front quickly and often.

The Rays transformed themselves into a stalwart defensive unit against Toronto. They allowed under .200 to the Blue Jays’ batters and didn’t give up more than two runs in either game. If this unit can keep up this kind of defensive effort, then they will be a force the further they go into the postseason.

 

Key Players:

Rays: Randy Arozarena, Outfielder

2020 Postseason Stats: .500 BA – 1 RBI – 0 Home Runs

Arozarena will need to be huge in this series if the Rays want to keep up with the Yankees’ high-powered batters. He connected with half of his at bats in the previous series, with no homers and one run batted in. He will need those two numbers to be higher to help his team win.

Yankees: Aaron Judge, Outfielder

2020 Postseason Stats: .111 BA – 2 RBI – 1 Home Run

Judge is one of the best players on the team and the Yankees will need him to play like it to win. His one homer is great but batting sub .200 plays right into what the Rays do well. He must pick up the slack to counteract the Rays’ defense.

 

Prediction:

Yankees over Rays

No doubt the Rays are the better team but the Yankees offense is on a roll and doesn’t look like it can be stopped. This series will most likely go down to the wire, with the Yankees coming out on top.

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