Game day preview: Rays try to figure out Yankees pitch in sold-out Saturday game

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay batters struggled out of the gate in this first series of the season against the New York Yankees, scoring in just one of the first 18 innings in a 7-2, 2-0 loss on Thursday. and Friday evening.

They’ll try to change things up on Saturday, with veterans Corey Kluber and Gerrit Cole facing off in the 4:10 p.m. ET game at Tropicana Field. The game is complete and the Rays will wear their white Devil Rays jerseys.

Cole is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but don’t tell the Rays that. He’s 1-6 against them all-time, with a 4.46 ERA. He’s 1-4 as a Yankee and 1-3 last year against the Rays. He made four starts at Tropicana Field and lost three. He did, however, have 10 or more strikeouts in all four games, and it’s the longest streak ever recorded by an opposing player in the Trop. Only Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow does it more often, with a six-game streak in 2021.

The Rays haven’t lost three straight at the same homestand all season, but that could happen on Saturday. The Rays are a 125-plus underdog, the highest number in a home game all season.

Here’s how to watch Saturday’s game, with TV info and starting lineups and more. Dewayne Staats is back behind the mic on the TV side after missing Friday’s game to attend his grandson’s graduation.

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How to watch the Yankees at Rays

  • Who: New York Yankees (33-13) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (26-19)
  • When: 4:10 p.m. ET, Saturday, May 28
  • Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • TV: Bally Sports Sun
  • Flow: CLICK HERE
  • Advertisers: Dewayne Staats (play-by-play), Brian Anderson (color commentary) and Ryan Bass (reporter).
  • Radio: WDAE 95.3 FM, SiriusXM channel 184
  • Advertisers: Andy Freed and Dave Wills.
  • Last line: The Yankees are favored at minus-150 on the silver line according to the website’s opening line Saturday afternoon. The radii are plus-125. That’s the biggest gap between losers in a home game all year for the Rays. The plus/minus is 6.5.

Projected starting pitchers

  • Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole: New York ace Gerrit Cole makes his 10th start of the season on Saturday. He’s 4-1 this season with a 3.31 ERA. He got off to a shaky start this season — a 6.35 ERA in his first three starts — but then allowed just six earned runs overall in his next five starts in 32 2/3 innings, good for a 1.65 MPM. The 31-year-old Newport Beach, Calif., native was roughed up in his last start, giving up five points in an 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.
  • Rays right-hander Corey Kluber: Corey Kluber has been the Rays’ most inconsistent starter this season. He’s just 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA and has already allowed 11 hits in two games this season. But he also had three outings allowing a run or less this year as well. His last outing was also difficult. Last Sunday in Baltimore, he lasted just three innings, allowing five hits and two walks, and threw 73 pitches for those nine outs.

Projected compositions

  • Lineup of the Yankees: DJ LeMahieu 3B, Aaron Judge CF, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Gleyber Torres 2B, Miguel Andujar LF, Matt Carpenter DH, Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS, Jose Trevino C, Joey Gallo RF, Gerrit Cole P.
  • Radius range: Yandy Diaz 3B, Ji-Man Choi 1B, Wander Franco SS, Randy Arozarena DH, Manuel Margot LF, Kevin Kiermaier CF, Francisco Mejia C, Brett Phillips RF, Taylor Walls 2B, Corey Kluber P.

News nuggets

  • No. 1 — Improved patina: Rays pitcher Luis Patino continues to progress from his oblique injury and appears to be on track for a return in June. He was injured in the first run of his first start on April 11 and went on the 60-day disabled list. He threw 26 pitches in the bullpen Sunday and said he felt good and should throw again Wednesday. He is eligible to leave IL on June 11.
  • #2 – Choi Owns Cole: As good as Gerrit Cole is, Tampa Bay first baseman Ji-Man Choi had a great career against him. He has a .435 batting average against him (10 for 23) and has four homers against him. That’s the most Choi has scored against a pitcher. Choi is in the lineup Saturday, of course, second at bat.
  • No. 3 — The magic number is 4: Good things happen for the Rays when they score four or more points in a game. They are 6-16 this season when scoring three or less, compared to 20-3 when scoring four or more. They are 17-2 when they score five or more runs, and are 23-3 when they beat their opponent and 2-13 when they register fewer hits than their opponent.
  • #4—Defensive Problems: The Rays have committed nine errors and allowed 10 unearned runs over the past seven games, which is a concerning trend this season. They have allowed 32 unearned runs this year, the worst in the American League and second only to the Pittsburgh Pirates (34). Last year, they didn’t allow their 32nd unearned run until June 22, their 74th game. They have played 45 games so far.
  • TAILLON BLANKS RAYS (Fri.): Tampa Bay was eager to challenge the New York Yankees this weekend, but their sticks didn’t show up. The Rays were silenced for the second straight night, this time by Yankees starter Jameson Taillon, who allowed just two hits through eight innings in the 2-0 win. CLICK HERE
  • RAYS NOTEBOOK (Friday): Even though the Tampa Bay bats have been stifled by New York pitchers in recent days, Rays outfielder Manuel Margot continues to rake. He scored a brace on Friday night and has now struck in 14 consecutive games. CLICK HERE
  • CORTES DOMINATES THE SHELVES (Thursday): Tampa Bay’s Ryan Yarbrough tied New York’s Nestor Cortes for five innings Thursday night, but a tough sixth inning led to a 7-2 Yankees victory. Cortes went over eight and was hard for the Rays hitters to figure out. CLICK HERE
  • TOM BREW COLUMN: The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays did something the usual on Thursday, taking to social media to highlight this country’s serious problem with gun violence after the events in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, Texas in course last week. There were no game updates, just gun violence stats. Good for them. CLICK HERE
  • 1-2 KICKS WITH McCLANAHAN, RASMUSSEN: The argument can be made that Tampa Bay starters Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen are the best doubles in the American League, and they were really good last month. Their numbers are exceptional, and here is our comparison of the best pitching pair in the league. CLICK HERE
  • 2022 SHELF SCHEDULE: Here’s the full 2022 schedule for the Tampa Bay Rays, with results and stats for every game so far, plus game dates, locations and times for the rest of the season. CLICK HERE

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Rays Harold Ramirez Wander Franco

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