Tonight’s game of the day has American League East foe’s facing off in Tampa Bay. It’s the New York Yankees taking on the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:08 pm est
TV: New York – YES sports network, Tampa – SUN TV, On the Net – MLB.tv
Radio: Yankees – WCBS 880, 92.7 WQBU. Rays – WDAE 620. As always you can catch all games on MLB Game Day Audio.
Here’s a closer fantasy look at the game of the day!
Probable Yankees starting pitcher: RHP AJ Burnett (1-0, 3.38 ERA in 2009)
From Jeff Seidel of Philadelphia Metro – Placement isn’t important to A.J. Burnett but timing sure is. Burnett could be the No. 1 starter on many major league teams, but he’s No. 3 in the Yankees’ rotation.
Just like in his first start, the former Blue Jay will be called upon today to clean up a messy start to a series. Chien-Ming Wang was tagged for eight earned runs in just one inning of work last night in Tampa Bay. That game ended too late for this edition. Now, it’s up to Burnett to right the starters’ ship for the Bombers.
The timing of his first start, when he quieted the O’s in 5 1/3 innings last Thursday, couldn’t have been better. The Yankees already had dropped the first two games of the three-game series and needed a solid effort.
“Obviously, we’ve got five starters here who can stop the bleeding any time, and that was my job [against the Orioles],” Burnett said. “I just wanted to come out and set the tone.”
Probable Rays starting pitcher: RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 1.29 ERA in 2009)
According to the Seattle PI – Matt Garza hopes for the same kind of run support the Tampa Bay Rays provided Scott Kazmir on Monday when the right-hander takes the hill in the second test of a three-game series against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field.
On the night Tampa raised its 2008 American League championship banner, the Rays went out and crushed Chien-Ming Wang and the Yankees. Carlos Pena hit a grand slam and Pat Burrell and Jason Bartlett added home runs for the Rays, who scored 10 times in the first three innings in a 15-5 rout.
Garza defeated the Boston Red Sox in his season debut on Thursday, as he surrendered a run and four hits over seven innings. The postseason hero from a year ago struck out five but walked three in the win.
The 25-year-old hurler, though, has struggled in his career against the Yanks, posting a 1-2 mark to go along with a 4.56 ERA in five games (4 starts).
Who’s hot: 1B/OF Nick Swishers. has 3 hr’s and 10 rbi’s in only 20 ab’s while batting .450. 2B Robinson Cano is hitting .385 with 4 rbi’s and 7 runs scored.
Fantasy pitching studs for the Yankees: SP C.C. Sabathia, SP AJ Burnett, and Closer Mariano Rivera. Sabathia again has some early season issues with his oblique muscles, but should recover quickly.
Who’s hot: Burnett, Rivera, SP Andy Pettitte, SP Joba Chamberlain, and RP Damaso Marte have all pitched very effectively in the early going.
Who’s not: SP Chien-Ming Wang. In 2 starts this season Wang has only lasted 4 innings – not per start, total. He’s given up 15 hits, 6 bb and 15 earned runs. Do yourself a favor, leave him on the bench until he gets it figured out.
Worth keeping an eye on: SP Phillip Hughes. Once the Yankees top prospect, Hughes may get the call if Wang can’t get it figured out or a Yankees starter goes down with an injury.
Fantasy pitching studs for the Rays: SP James Shields and SP Scott Kazmir. This organization is pitching rich – Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, and Jeff Niemann are all young enough and talented enough to be studs, but chances are only Garza and Sonnanstine of the group will be productive enough this season to warrant middle of your fantasy rotation consideration.
Who’s hot: Garza and Kazmir. Garza picked up a win in a 7 inning, 4 hit, 1 run game his 1st time out. Kazmir is starting things off right, posting 2 wins in 13 innings with 10 k’s.
Who’s not: RP Grant Balfour. The hard throwing Balfour has a 20.25 era in 2 games and has taking himself out of consideration for saves.
Worth keeping an eye on: RP Joe Nelson. Nelson has 5 k’s in 3 innings pitched, while giving up no runs. He could find himself in the mix for saves if the other Rays closing candidated can’t get things squared away.
WHAT’S NEW: The Yankees and Rays is actually a meaningful rivalry now, and it’s the Yankees who are trying to knock the Rays off the AL East thrown.
KEY STAT: The Yankees were 11-7 vs the Rays last season. The Rays are 1-0 vs the Yankees this season after a 15-5 thrashing last night.
CONNECTIONS: Rays catcher Dioner Navarro played was a prospect and played for the Yankees in 2004. Yankees catcher Jose Molina and Rays RP Troy Percival were part of the 2002 world championship Angels team. They played together from 2001 to 2004. Yankees SP Andy Pettitte and Rays RP Dan Wheeler pitched for the Astros from 2004 to 2006.
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