The Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees on Monday having lost two straight, six of seven, and nine of their past 12 games. Since the 12-game stretch began on June 20, the Rays have scored 3.1 runs per game (26th in MLB) and hit .215 as a team (28th in MLB).
The Yankees, conversely, come to town winners of two in a row and seven of their past nine games but they haven’t had much success at Tropicana Field of late.
The Yankees have lost their past seven road meetings with the Rays, tied for their longest road losing streak against a single opponent in over 20 years. The Yankees haven’t lost eight straight such games since losing 15 in a row against the Rangers during a stretch spanning the 1989, 1990, and 1991 seasons.
THE DEFENSE RESTS
The Rays have struggled defensively in 2012, having already committed 67 errors this season -- only the Orioles have more (69). Tampa Bay committed 73 errors all of last season (fewest in MLB) while leading all of baseball with 85 Defensive Runs Saved.
According to Baseball Info Solutions, most of their struggles have come at third base with Evan Longoria out of the lineup. Rays third basemen have committed 36 defensive misplays and errors in 2012 after committing only 40 all of last season.
Freddy Garcia This Season
IS FREDDY READY?
Freddy Garcia will start for the Yankees in place of an injured Andy Pettitte tonight and he hopes to build on his recent success as a reliever. Garcia is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA his past 10 appearances, all out of the bullpen. He was 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA in his first four appearances of the year, all as a starter.
Garcia has pitched well as a starter against the Rays, however, going 3-0 with a 3.58 ERA in his past four starts against Tampa Bay with his team winning all four contests.
A LEFTY THAT OWNS RIGHTIES
The Rays have baseball’s fourth-youngest pitching staff and Matt Moore, the 23-year-old lefthander, gets the nod Monday. Every one of their games has been started by a pitcher 30 or younger, something only the Blue Jays, Tigers, and Orioles have done this season.
Moore enters the game with backwards platoon splits in 2012 as lefties are hitting .294 and slugging .485 against him while righties are hitting just .230 and slugging only .385.
Those odd splits have led to a 3-0 record and 3.55 ERA in five June starts, however, the longest winning streak of his career. In his only previous start against the Yankees, Moore earned the win while striking out a career-high 11 hitters in five shutout innings last September.