Yankees hit the road after rainout to play Rays (Jul 22, 2018)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- What could have been an extremely difficult turnaround didn't end up so bad. The New York Yankees' game against the New York Mets on Sunday night was postponed by rain, allowing them to avoid an overnight flight to St. Petersburg for a three-game series against the Rays.
It still won't be an easy back-to-back, but the Yankees (63-34) have dropped three of their last five and the Rays (50-49) just won one of four against the Miami Marlins, salvaging that with a walk-off grand slam by Daniel Robertson on Sunday afternoon.
The Rays' season has mirrored their games against New York -- they were dominated in five straight losses against the Yankees, then bounced back with four straight wins. Another win Monday would even the season series.
New York has the third-best record in baseball yet finds itself five games behind the Boston Red Sox for the American League East lead.
Severino has faced Tampa Bay twice this season, with similarly effective results: On April 4, he went 7 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out seven; on June 16, he lasted eight innings and gave up three hits and no runs, striking out nine. It's one of three scoreless starts in his last six outings.
Severino is 7-1 against the Rays in his career with a 2.38 ERA, and 4-0 in the last two seasons. The Yankees haven't had a 20-game winner since C.C. Sabathia in 2010, and Severino is on course to end that drought. He has been relatively mortal in his last two starts, giving up seven runs in 10 innings for a 6.30 ERA.
The Rays, again back over .500, will continue their relievers-as-starters experiment with rookie Hunter Wood (0-0, 2.70 ERA), who will serve as Monday's "opener." Wood has given up runs in two of his last three relief appearances since his last start, matching his season high with 38 pitches in his last outing.
The Rays aren't expecting more than an inning or two from Wood, relying on a deep bullpen that has kept them competitive despite losing several starting pitchers to injury this year. He was used as a pinch-runner in Sunday's win over the Marlins.
"Obviously, we didn't go into the All-Star break the way we wanted, losing three out of four in Minnesota," Robertson said after his grand-slam finish. "Then it would not have been right for us to get swept at home, where we've been playing so well.
"To get this win is a huge confidence boost for our team. I saw that not like we need it, because we are a confident group and we all believe in each other and trust each other. Just getting that win was huge."
The Yankees will now play Sunday's washout against the Mets on Aug. 13, also before a three-game series against the Rays.