Advertisement

Back On Track

The New York Yankees know they got back into the AL East race by sweeping their archrivals. They also know they can play themselves out of it if they fail to maintain their focus as they open a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees (75-59) capped a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 5-0 win Thursday as Chien-Ming Wang capped a dominant three days of pitching by his team's starters. Wang carried a no-hitter into the seventh en route to his 16th victory, joining starters Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens in posting key wins that pulled New York within five games of first-place Boston.

"We need wins. I'd tell you the same thing if we just beat a high-school team three games in a row," said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who went 4-for-4 on Thursday and 7-for-11 in the series. "Now we have to play well against Tampa. Otherwise these games don't mean anything."

Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made New York -235 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 10.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 80% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -235 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Thursday's victory, coupled with Seattle's loss, gave the Yankees a one-game lead over the Mariners in the AL wild card race.

Robinson Cano provided the big hits Thursday with a pair of home runs, and has battered Devil Rays pitching at a .413 clip this season, going 19-for-46 with two homers and nine RBIs. He went 11-for-18 (.611) with a homer and six RBIs in a four-game series against Tampa Bay from July 20-22.

Phil Hughes (2-2, 5.35) tries again to notch his first win since Aug. 10 as he faces the Devil Rays for the first time. The rookie right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in his last three starts, and was reached for five runs and three homers in six innings of a 5-4 loss to Detroit on Friday.

"We lost, so it was a bad start," said Hughes, who had given up just two homers in his previous six starts. "That's the only way you can look at it."

The Devil Rays (54-80), one loss away from clinching their 10th non-winning season in as many years since entering the league in 1998, are playing arguably their best baseball of 2007. They enter Yankee Stadium fresh off sweeping a three-game set at Baltimore for the first time.

Tampa scored 28 runs in its three wins, including an 8-6 victory Thursday for its first road sweep in more than two years.

"We talked earlier about finishing strong, and certainly to come out and get these three games ... it certainly sets us on the right track," said Josh Wilson, who homered Thursday. "Now we go into New York, and hopefully we'll play them tough and get on our way to finishing the season the way we want to and take it into next year."

The Devil Rays have won six of seven overall, scoring 65 runs. But Tampa has won only three series in franchise history at Yankee Stadium, where the Rays are 21-58 all-time.

Andy Sonnanstine (3-9, 6.38) tries to win consecutive starts for the first time in his career. The rookie right-hander limited the Oakland Athletics to two runs in five innings of a 7-4 victory Sunday for his first home win after going 0-5 in his first seven starts at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees dealt Sonnanstine one of those home losses July 14, when Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui homered in a 6-4 victory. Sonnanstine was reached for five runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.

He is 2-4 with a 6.24 ERA in eight road starts, giving up 10 homers in 49 innings.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

More MLB Baseball coverage from theSpread.com

 - MLB news wire
 - Current MLB Injuries
 - 2007 MLB standings
 - 2007 MLB schedule
 - 2007 MLB Umpire sheet
 - 2007 MLB stats
 - MLB scoreboard
 - Expert MLB picks
 - Accuscore predictions
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - MLB home 

Advertisement

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Reds continue to harm Cards' playoff chances   After another flop at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals need a flamethrowing 22-year-old to keep them afloat in the National...
Thumbnail Giants aim to obliterate Rockies again San Francisco erupted for 19 hits in last night’s victory over Colorado. Will the West Coast crowd witness further offensive heroics...
Thumbnail Cards seek to build momentum against Reds Jhonny Peralta’s had a tough time since returning from the disabled list on June 7. Perhaps, though, he’s rediscovering that familiar power stroke when it matters...
Thumbnail Yanks keeping slim hopes alive vs. Red Sox Clay Buchholz proved his playoff bona fides in 2013. In order for the Red Sox to inflict some real damage this October, the righty may have to be equally...
Thumbnail Reds threatening Cardinals' playoff prospects The Cardinals have laid some absolutely clunkers at Busch Stadium this season. Nothing, however, compares to the embarrassment...
More inMLB Articles  

MLB Headlines

More inMLB News  

MLB Team Pages