The Tampa Bay Rays are enjoying their longest win streak in history in the Bronx while the short-handed New York Yankees are simply looking for answers.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi probably likes his chances of extending his streak of 14 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings when he faces the Yankees on Wednesday night.Tampa Bay (70-75) opened this three-game set with a 4-3 victory Tuesday for its fifth straight win at New York and 12th in its last 14 games there. The Rays improved to 27-26 all-time at the current Yankee Stadium after going 26-65 at the old one.New York (73-69) has dropped six of nine, getting shut out three times in that span. The Yankees finished with seven hits in the opener without Brett Gardner and Martin Prado.Gardner missed his third straight game with an abdominal strain while Prado sat out with a strained left hamstring. There is no timetable for either to return. Gardner leads the club with 81 runs while Prado is hitting .382 in his last 17 games.The Yankees are in sixth place in the AL wild-card standings with 20 games left. They are in danger of missing the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992 and `93."It leaves us in a pretty big hole," manager Joe Girardi said. "Basically we have to win every day. I mean that's the bottom line."A depleted Yankees lineup figures to work to the advantage of Odorizzi (10-11, 3.84 ERA), who has never faced Prado while Gardner is 2 for 5 with a homer off him this year.Odorizzi went 7 1/3 innings in Thursday's 1-0, 10-inning loss to Toronto, failing to issue a walk for the fourth time.The right-hander is 1-0 with a 5.59 ERA in two 2014 starts against the Yankees -- both on the road.James Loney went 3 for 4 with a homer Tuesday to continue his success against New York. He is batting .382 with three homers and 12 RBIs to help Tampa Bay take nine of 14 meetings this season and is a lifetime .425 hitter with 15 RBIs in 19 games at Yankee Stadium.Loney is 7 for 10 in his last two games."Last few days, I think I've just been getting the pitches there and not missing them," Loney said. "That's what you want to do."Ben Zobrist went 2 for 5 to leave him one hit shy of becoming the second player to reach the 1,000-hit plateau with the Rays along with Carl Crawford.New York will give the ball to Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.46), who has a 4.13 ERA and no decisions in five starts at Yankee Stadium this year. The Yankees have won his last three starts even though he has registered a 4.86 ERA and allowed six homers in 16 2/3 innings.The left-hander's most recent start against the Rays came on Aug. 9, 2013. He gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 7-6 win with the Dodgers.Loney is 4 for 7 off Capuano and Yunel Escobar, who returned Tuesday from a one-game absence due to flu-like symptoms, is 3 for 5.
Jake Odorizzi has thrown 39.3 percent of his pitches in the upper third of the zone or higher this season, the third-highest rate among qualifiers. The New York Yankees have hit an AL-low .195 in at-bats to end on such pitches.