As one AL East rival exits the Bronx, another enters a new series at Yankee Stadium.
This time the Tampa Bay Rays take a turn against the New York Yankees Monday in the opener of a three-game set. The Yankees are 6-6 in a stretch of 15 consecutive games against division opponents and lost their third straight series this weekend versus the despised Boston Red Sox.
You can watch the game live on TSN and TSN GO at 7pm et/4pm pt.
Boston needed a ninth-inning home run to beat the Yankees on Saturday, then closed the series with Sunday night's 8-5 victory. Yankees starter Chase Whitley struggled to the tune of five runs and eight hits in four innings for New York, losers in six of the past eight games.
Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran each hit solo homers in defeat.
"I always believe that when you play against teams that are in your division, those are series that you've got to win," said Beltran, who has been dealing with soreness in his forearm and had three hits. "We missed this one."
Teixeira has homered in four of his last eight games and has hit safely in 14 of the previous 17 contests.
New York is still just two games off the AL East lead.
David Phelps tries to pitch the Yankees back to respectability when he toes the rubber Monday night. Phelps is 2-0 in his last three starts and did not figure into the decision of a 7-6 loss at Toronto last Tuesday, as he permitted six runs and eight hits in five innings.
Phelps has allowed 15 runs in his last four starts and is 3-4 with a 4.35 earned run average this season. The right-hander has faced Tampa Bay eight times (4 starts) in his career and is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA.
Tampa Bay has been playing better baseball of late, but the club is still last in the division at 10 games off the pace.
The Rays opened an 11-game road trip by taking three of four games against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, and won the series with Sunday's 12-7 offensive outburst. Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo home run and Logan Forsythe added a two-run shot during a seven-run seventh inning for the Rays, who have won six of their last nine games.
Matt Joyce had a big game by going 5-for-6 with two homers, three runs scored and four RBI. Joyce matched a Rays single-game record with five hits and 12 total bases. His shot in the third inning ended a drought of 124 at-bats without a homer.
"You really don't have too many days like that," Joyce said. "It's nice to have one of those days and enjoy it."
Ben Zobrist also went deep and recorded three hits, two RBI and two runs scored in the win. Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb picked up the win and was reached for four runs (3 earned) in five innings.
The Rays have won five of their last seven road games and will also visit Detroit for four games on this road trip. They are 16-24 as the guest.
Tampa Bay has scored at least five runs in 12 of the last 18 games, going 11-7 in that stretch.
Chris Archer hopes to get some more of that run support when he takes the mound in the Bronx. The Rays have scored exactly five runs in each of Archer's last two starts, including a 6-5 loss to Pittsburgh last Tuesday. Archer fell to 1-3 in his last four decisions after giving up five runs -- four earned -- in seven innings of work.
Archer, who is 4-5 with a 3.29 ERA and has thrown six-plus innings six times in the past seven appearances, will put his unblemished mark against the Yankees on the line Monday. He has won all four of his starts in this series and has a 1.26 ERA across 28 2/3 innings.
The Rays have won four of seven meetings with the Yankees this season and took two of three matchups in the Bronx from May 2-4.