New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays game preview
TV: SUN SPORTS
TIME: PREGAME COVERAGE STARTS AT 6:30 P.M.
The Tampa Bay Rays are looking for more wins following a successful first road trip of the season and will try to get them by adding to the New York Yankees’ woes.
It’s unclear, though, if the Rays will have Evan Longoria available for their attempt to send the Yankees to their worst start in 26 years Friday night.
Tampa Bay (6-4) went 5-2 on their trek and bounced back with a 4-2 victory against Toronto on Thursday for its fifth win in six games. Tim Beckham gave the Rays enough cushion with his second pinch-home run of the season, but Longoria left in the eighth after getting hit by a pitch in the left hip.
The Rays already have nine players on the disabled list, but it’s unknown if their third baseman will make it 10 or if he’ll come back sometime this weekend.
"He got dinged pretty good, but we’ve got a flight to factor in, just sitting and getting up in the air and stuff," manager Kevin Cash said. "We’ll evaluate it (Friday)."
Longoria has the majors’ longest active games played streak at 252.
Tampa Bay dropped two of three to Baltimore in its only home series but will next face a Yankees team trying to avoid its first 3-7 start since 1989. New York lost two of three to Baltimore in its first road series and took a 7-5 defeat in Wednesday’s finale.
The Yankees’ bullpen gave up five runs in the sixth after putting up a 1.73 ERA in the first eight games. New York’s rotation has a 5.07 ERA, and while its lineup has produced 45 runs, it is batting .227.
"It’s frustrating. It’s not the way you want to start out," manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously we need to start winning series or it becomes a long year."
Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.97 ERA) will try to keep Girardi’s hitters at bay while building on one of the best starts of his brief career. The right-hander yielded two runs and two hits in seven innings Sunday in an 8-5 win in Miami in his seventh career start.
Karns gave up six runs in 5 2-3 innings in his season debut, a 6-5 loss to Baltimore on April 7, and he’ll face the Yankees for the first time.
Adam Warren (0-1, 1.69) is slated to make his first start against Tampa Bay and fifth of his career. The right-hander gave up two runs in 5 1-3 innings in his season debut Saturday, an 8-4 defeat against Boston.
Brett Gardner is hoping to return for the Yankees on Friday following a two-game absence. The outfielder suffered a bone bruise on his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch in a 6-5 win in Baltimore on Monday.
"I’m definitely happy that it feels the way it does," Gardner told MLB’s official website Wednesday. "I’m headed in the right direction."
Gardner was 2 for 22 in his final six games against the Rays last season, all in Tampa Bay. Chris Young, hitting a team-best .318 for the Yankees, went 7 for 18 with two homers and three doubles in his five matchups in 2014.
Desmond Jennings batted .378 with two homers and three doubles in his final 10 games against New York in 2014. He has hit safely in eight of Tampa Bay’s 10 games but is also batting just .235.