Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees series primer

The Tampa Bay Rays have won eight of 13 games against the New York Yankees this season. 

Jeff Griffith/Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have a chance to play spoiler in their final trip to the Big Apple this season.

Tuesday, the Rays and New York Yankees begin a three-game series at Yankee Stadium with the home team on the edge in the race for the American League’s second wild-card spot. The Yankees (73-68) are five games back of the Seattle Mariners in the race for the berth, and a series loss to Tampa Bay would hurt their postseason chances with a little less than three weeks left in the regular season.

The Rays, meanwhile, begin a six-game road trip after posting a 4-6 record during their most recent homestand against the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. Tampa Bay (69-75) will send right-hander Chris Archer to the mound Tuesday, with two of its strongest arms of late — right-handers Jake Odorizzi (Wednesday) and Alex Cobb (Thursday) — to follow to close the mid-week series.

By the end of next week, the Rays and Yankees will have seen plenty of each other. This series is part of nine games played between the two since Aug. 15, with the final games of the season series set to occur from Sept. 15-17 at Tropicana Field.

Here’s a closer look at the upcoming Rays-Yankees series …

SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS

WHO’S HOT

Wil Myers (Rays): He hit .346 (9 for 26) with two RBI in seven games from Sept. 1-7. He had three multi-hit games in the span, the highlight being when he went 3 for 4 with one RBI in a victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 1. He has hit .226 with six home runs and 29 RBI this season.

Brian McCann (Yankees): He hit .316 (6 for 19) with two home runs and four RBI in five games from Sept. 2-7. He had two multi-hit games in the span, including a four-hit, three-RBI day in a victory over the Red Sox on Sept. 3. He has hit .238 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI this season.

WHO’S NOT

Matt Joyce (Rays): He hit .095 (2 for 21) with four strikeouts in six games from Sept. 1-7. He went hitless four times in the span. He has hit .258 with eight home runs and 51 RBI this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees): He hit .130 (3 for 23) with three strikeouts in six games from Sept. 2-7. He went hitless three times in the span. He has hit .281 with 14 home runs and 66 RBI this season.

STORYLINES

2: Victories earned by Boxberger in the Rays’ most recent three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. He’s 5-1 with a 1.92 ERA and 96 strikeouts this season.

Rays 2015 schedule

0: Times the Rays had won on a walk-off passed ball before Saturday, when Yunel Escobar scored on Nick Hundley’s poor pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 3-2 victory at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay was playing in its 2,733rd regular-season game.

6: Games left for the Rays at Tropicana Field in the regular season. They host the Yankees from Sept. 15-17 and Chicago White Sox from Sept. 19-21.

QUOTE BOARD

"Teams go through those times where it’s just tough to put a run cross. Eventually it will break through, and we saw that in the eighth." — Right-hander Alex Cobb, after the Rays’ 3-0 victory over the Orioles on Friday at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth.

"However it falls at the end, we’ll take it in a good way." — Manager Joe Maddon, after the Rays won on a passed ball Saturday. Tampa Bay clinched a series victory with the result.

"It does feel like a lot of our losses came like this." — Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, after the Orioles beat the Rays 7-5 in 11 innings on Sunday at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay led 3-0 after the fifth but failed to hold the lead and earn the series sweep.

LOOKING AHEAD

Tampa Bay Rays on FOX Sports Sun

Sept. 12-14 — Rays at Blue Jays

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.