The New York Yankees’ starters are pacing their current winning streak, and the Tampa Bay Rays’ rotation is largely watching as their team slides.
The surging Yankees will go for their sixth straight win Friday in Tampa as the Rays look to another fill-in starter to end a four-game skid.
New York (10-6) has held opponents to three earned runs in four games after Thursday’s 10-2 series-opening victory over the Rays (7-9). Designated hitter Alfonso Soriano and third baseman Yangervis Solarte each went 3 for 5 with a home run, while Derek Jeter was 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
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"The big thing is to get off to a good start on the road trip," manager Joe Girardi told the team’s official website as the Yankees began a seven-game trip against the AL East.
The Rays, meanwhile, have scored 16 runs during a 3-7 stretch.
"We’re taking good at-bats," third baseman Evan Longoria told the Rays’ official website. "It’s just not going our way right now. It’s kind of a copout. It’s easy to say that we’re not getting the breaks and just chalk it up to that, but at a certain point, you have to make your own luck. We have to go up there and continue to grind out at-bats and believe that it’s going to happen for us."
Tampa Bay will try to do that against Hiroki Kuroda (2-1, 3.86 ERA), who has won his last two starts against AL East foes after losing his season debut to Houston. In Saturday’s 7-4 home win over Boston, he allowed four runs on six hits in 6 1-3 innings.
He’s been roughed up by the Rays, though, yielding at least four earned runs in five career starts for a 2-3 record and 7.36 ERA. In 2013, Kuroda allowed 12 runs in 11 2-3 innings while losing both starts against Tampa Bay.
Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist is 5 for 12 with two home runs off Kuroda, while outfielder Matt Joyce is 5 for 14 with three homers.
For Tampa Bay, Erik Bedard will start in place of Alex Cobb, who landed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a left oblique strain. Bedard (0-0, 0.00 ERA) was 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA at Triple-A Durham, allowing a run on two hits in four innings in his only start.
In his only big-league appearance of the season, he yielded an unearned run on two hits in two innings of relief work in Sunday’s 12-4 loss at Cincinnati.
Sixty percent of the Rays’ rotation is on the disabled list as Bedard, Jake Odorizzi and Cesar Ramos try to get manager Joe Maddon’s staff through a rough time.
"Speaks to the word depth," Maddon said. "We really try to honor that thought. We’re very serious about how we set this whole thing up.
"We still have other candidates in Triple-A that you like, too, if anything else were to happen. But it’s all about depth. Because nobody’s going to feel sorry for you and I don’t want us to feel sorry for ourselves, either."
Ichiro Suzuki, who is batting .370, is a career .400 hitter against Bedard, while Soriano is 7 for 14.
Yankees catcher Brian McCann has three homers and five RBIs in his last four games.