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Yankees at Rays Preview
Jeff Mezydlo, STATS Senior Writer
4/17/2014
(AP) -- With a starting rotation battered by injuries, the Tampa Bay Rays need David Price to be at his best.

Looking to help the Rays avoid a fourth consecutive defeat Thursday night, Price attempts to continue his success against CC Sabathia and the visiting New York Yankees, who are trying for a fifth straight win.

Two days after Tampa Bay (7-8) announced left-hander Matt Moore will undergo season-ending elbow surgery and join Alex Cobb (strained oblique) and Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) on the disabled list, Price (2-0, 2.91 ERA) will be counted on to end the Rays' slide.

"You can't go out there and add extra pressure, knowing that a couple of our other staff members have gone down right now, or whether or not we have kind of a light bullpen," Price told the Rays' official website. "You definitely know the situation at hand. I don't think applying added pressure to yourself does you any favors."

Price, who allowed a run, four hits and struck out 10 in 8 1-3 innings of a 2-1 win at Cincinnati on Friday, is 9-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 20 starts against the Yankees (9-6), including 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA in his last six.

This will be the 10th time he's opposed Sabathia (1-2, 6.63), and the Rays have won eight of those matchups with Price going 6-1 with a 2.68 ERA.

Sabathia is 1-6 with a 6.11 ERA in his last eight starts against the Rays, and 0-5 with a 4.50 ERA in his past eight at Tropicana Field.

The left-hander has allowed five homers in three starts this season, including two and four runs in seven innings of a 4-2 loss to Boston on Friday.

"I just haven't been able to put a whole game together," he said. "I'm pitching well at times, but I need to be able to stay even-keeled and make pitches in big situations."

Sabathia has a tough act to follow after starters Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda had a hand in New York winning 3-0 and 2-0 in Wednesday's day-night doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs.

"It just goes to show you how well our pitchers threw," manager Joe Girardi said. "When you shut out a team for 18 innings you're doing things right."

The Yankees, who have yielded 11 runs while winning five of six, last blanked three straight opponents June 6-8, 1962.

Carlos Beltran homered in the first game and went 3 for 7 on the day. Beltran, who has never faced Price, is 8 for 15 with three homers, three doubles and five RBIs in the last four contests.

With Wednesday's 3-0 loss at Baltimore, the Rays have been outscored 37-14 and hit .191 while losing six of nine.

"It's been tough," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're seeing pitches, working good at-bats, hits are not forthcoming."

Reigning AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers went 0 for 7 with four strikeouts during the rain-abbreviated two-game set against the Orioles to drop his average to .200.

He went 3 for 9 with a grand slam off Sabathia last season.

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•The Rays went 4-1-1 in series against the Yankees in 2013, tied for their best series record against New York (2005). In every other season besides 2005 and 2013, Tampa Bay lost at least two series to the Yankees.

•The Yankees swept the Cubs in a doubleheader yesterday, New York's first interleague doubleheader sweep over a team other than the Mets and the first time the Yankees have not allowed a run in a doubleheader since April 19, 1987 against the Royals.

•Tampa Bay has been held to eight hits or fewer in each of its last 10 games, the longest streak in baseball this season (no other team has gone more than six straight). The Rays are hitting .221 this season, ahead of only the Astros.

•Evan Longoria hit nine home runs against the Yankees in 2013, the most by any player against any team last season. He also became the second player since 1950 to tally 14 or more extra-base hits in a season against the Yankees (Vernon Wells, 14 in 2003).

•CC Sabathia has given up four or more earned runs in each of his first three starts of the season. The last Yankee to give up 4+ ER in each of his first four starts of the season was Catfish Hunter in 1975.

•David Price has tossed a quality start with at least five strikeouts in each of his last five outings against the Yankees, the longest active streak in baseball. Price has tallied at least three strikeouts in each of his 21 career games against the Yankees, the longest active streak and tied for the second-longest career-opening streak in the last 100 years (Pedro Martinez, 32 straight).


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