American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, June 6th (All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (31-24) at New York Yankees (30-24), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Alex Cobb (2-1, 3.71) New York - Ivan Nova (6-2, 5.60)
(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees have a chance to move atop the American League East standings tonight when they play the second test of their three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.
New York climbed within a half game of the Rays and Baltimore Orioles in Tuesday's opener behind a tremendous effort from left-hander Andy Pettitte. The 39-year-old hurler piled up a season-high 10 strikeouts and Russell Martin belted a grand slam, as the Yankees rolled to a 7-0 win.
Nick Swisher added an RBI double for the Yankees, who capitalized on a throwing error by shortstop Elliot Johnson in the first inning that led to a pair of runs, and New York won for the fourth time in five games, moving a season-high six games over .500 (30-24).
Pettitte (3-2) allowed just two hits and walked two batters over 7 1/3 innings. The lefty moved to 17-6 lifetime against the Rays.
"For Andy, I think his stamina has been tremendous," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I expect Andy to keep it up. That's the only Andy I know."
James Shields (6-4) was tagged for seven hits and seven runs -- five earned -- over five innings, as the Rays lost for the fifth time in seven tries.
"Overall, we didn't play very good baseball all around," Shields said. "It's frustrating. We're not playing to our potential."
Tonight, New York will hand the ball to righty Ivan Nova, who has won his last two starts. Nova was not particularly sharp on Wednesday against Anaheim, as he allowed five runs and eight hits and walked three batters in 6 2/3 innings. His team put six runs on the board for him, though, and he improved to 6-2 to go along with a 5.60 ERA.
"I know at some point this year, I'm going to start pitching better, and I hope it's going to be soon," Nova said. "I still have a lot of confidence in myself and I know I can get out of bad situations."
Nova beat the Rays back on May 8 and is a perfect 3-0 lifetime against them with a 3.26 ERA in five starts.
Getting the call for the Rays, meanwhile, will be righty Alex Cobb, who will be trying to bounce back from his first loss of the season. After starting his year with consecutive wins, Cobb was defeated by the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, as he allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings.
"Whenever you tie or go ahead, you want a quick inning to get the momentum staying in your favor and get the offense back going," Cobb said. "Unfortunately they got a little rally going there in the third, and I wasn't able to get the offense back on the field quick enough. Later in the game, it wound up costing us."
Cobb faced the Yankees once last season and did not get a decision, as he gave up just an earned run in six innings, despite walking four batters.
Tampa has won four of seven from the Yankees already this season.
06/06 10:45:52 ET