The Yankees Shouldn’t Think They’re Rivals with the Rays Right Nowby Ben Fadden April 18, 2021 0 comments
The New York Yankees began the season as the best team in the American League on paper but as you know, games aren’t played on paper. Entering Saturday, the Yankees owned the worst record in the AL (5-8) and ended the day still as the worst team in the AL after a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays–their fourth straight loss.
New York also fell to Tampa Bay on Friday, marking the seventh straight series loss for the Yankees against the Rays (including the 2020 ALDS). The Yankees have now lost 17 of their last 22 games against Tampa Bay dating back to September of 2019. They are now 5-9 for the first time since 2016 when they finished 84-78.
Not a Real Rivalry at the Moment
It’s clear that the Yankees aren’t hitting on all cylinders offensively and it’s also clear that this team isn’t on the same level as the Rays right now, despite Tampa Bay only being 7-8. And therefore, there isn’t really a rivalry at the moment.
An example of a real rivalry right now is the one that is happening this weekend on the west coast. The Dodgers and Padres are playing a three-game series in San Diego, and there’s been talk about that matchup being the best rivalry in baseball at the moment.
You could’ve made the argument that the Rays and Yankees deserve that title due to the recent bad blood between the two sides but the games that they’ve played have been fairly lopsided in favor of the Rays. On Friday, New York lost by six runs before losing by three on Saturday.
The Dodgers and Padres exchanged blows for over four hours on Friday night in their first of nineteen games against one another this season. Yes, it was only one game but as someone who was in the ballpark that night, it felt like a playoff game.
That hasn’t been the case for the Yankees-Rays matchups so far this season.
Yankees Aren’t Being Competitive with the Rays
So far this season, the Rays have outscored the Yankees 32-18 in five games against one another. That doesn’t sound like a real competitive rivalry right now.
Aaron Judge knew postgame on Saturday that the Yankees will need to step it up quickly or else they might be forced to dig themselves out of a hole in the first month of the season. “I think we’ve got to get back to playing as a team and having consistent at-bats,” Judge said.
Perhaps some better at-bats will result in more run support for the pitching staff, and Gerrit Cole would be happy if it started on Sunday.
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