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They aren't in the chase for the playoffs by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly appears that the Tampa Bay Rays have the ship sailing in the right direction again.
The Rays have won four of their last five, including three of four in Baltimore, as they travel to the Bronx to begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees.
A breakdown of the season series so far between the two squads by the numbers:
- 4-3 - Tampa Bay's record against the Yankees so far in 2014. The two teams split a four-game series at Tropicana Field in mid-April, and the Rays took two out of three at Yankee Stadium in early May, including a 10-5 victory May 2 where the Rays scored five times in the top of the 14th.
- 5 - The combined number of starting pitchers that have missed time for the teams. Each team has a pitcher that required Tommy John Surgery this year (Tampa Bay's Matt Moore and New York's Ivan Nova). Tampa Bay also has seen Alex Cobb (oblique) miss time, and Jeremy Hellickson has not yet returned from offseason elbow surgery. New York has missed left-hander C.C. Sabathia, who has been on the disabled list since May 12 with inflammation in his right knee.
- 4 - The number of relievers each team has had record a save this year (Grant Balfour, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Juan Carlos Oviedo for Tampa Bay; David Robertson, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, and David Phelps for New York). That equals the number of Yankees who recorded a save in 2013, while Tampa Bay had six players record a save last season (including both Jake Odorizzi and Roberto Hernandez).
- 12 - The number of home runs Rays third baseman Evan Longoria has hit at Yankee Stadium, tied with Camden Yards as the road stadium where he has hit the most homers.
- 5 games - the amount of ground Tampa Bay has made up on the division since June 10th when Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Jake Odorizzi 1-0. The Rays found themselves 15 games out of the division race after the game, and have chopped a third off in the last 20 days.
Scheduled pitching matchups
Monday - Chris Archer (4-5, 3.29 ERA) vs. David Phelps (3-4, 4.61 ERA)
Tuesday - David Price (6-7, 3.63 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (5-5, 4.23 ERA)
Wednesday - Jake Odorizzi (3-7, 4.14 ERA) vs. Vidal Nuno (2-4, 5.42 ERA)
All three games will be aired on 620 WDAE and 95.3 FM.
STARTING LINEUP: Desmond Jennings CF, Ben Zobrist SS, Matt Joyce DH, Evan Longoria 3B, James Loney 1B, Brandon Guyer LF, Logan Forsythe 2B, Ryan Hanigan C, Kevin Kiermaier RF.