The Tampa Bays felt great about winning two close home games against the New York Yankees last weekend
This weekend, the Yankees are experiencing positive feelings after two competitive victories on their home field
The American League East rivals meet for the final time until shortly after the All-Star break Sunday afternoon when the Yankees go for a four-game series win over the visiting Rays
The 13-game season series is tied at three games apiece with five games being decided by one run.
Tampa Bay earned two one-run victories last weekend, including last Sunday's, where it overcame a six-run deficit against Gerrit Cole. The Yankees evened the season series by following up Friday's 6-5 win with a 9-8 victory Saturday afternoon when they rallied from a six-run deficit
Aaron Judge was on the injured list last weekend but has impacted this series. He drew a walk to set up Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer in the eighth Friday and hit a pair of two-run homers, including the go-ahead blast off Ryan Thompson in the sixth, on Saturday.
"This was one of the most fun games we've played all year," Judge said of Saturday's game. "We're facing the best. They're bringing it every single night; we're bringing it every single at-bat. There were a lot of gritty at-bats. It's fun to be a part of."
Tampa Bay is 2-4 over its last six games and is 17-11 since its 13-game winning streak to start the season.
"It happens," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of blowing a six-run lead. "But we're feeling pretty good about ourselves. We got to that point, separated the game a little bit. But, obviously know that this team can come right back in one big inning or two big innings. They did a good job.
The Rays are trying to avoid their fourth series loss of the season after getting big days from Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena
Diaz hit his first career grand slam in the fifth on Saturday and is batting .318 (14-for-44) during an 11-game hitting streak. Arozarena had three hits, drove in three and has reached base in 23 straight starts.
Clarke Schmidt (1-3, 5.35 ERA), who is coming off his first career win as a starting pitcher, goes for the Yankees. Schmidt is 1-6 with a 5.20 ERA in 13 career starts and allowed two runs on five hits in a career-high six innings in Tuesday's 10-5 win over Oakland
Schmidt has lasted at least five innings in three of his last four starts after not doing so in his first four outings. Schmidt is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in six career games (two starts) against the Rays and took the loss in his last start against them by allowing two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 2-1 setback on Sept. 3, 2022
Zach Elfin (4-1, 2.91), who is coming off his first loss as a Ray, will oppose Schmidt on Sunday. Elfin won his first four decisions before allowing a season-high four runs on seven hits in six innings during a 4-2 loss at Baltimore on Tuesday.
Elfin is facing the Yankees for the third time in his career and has yet to allow an earned run in 11 innings. He last faced the Yankees on Aug. 6, 2020, as a member of the Phillies. He allowed two unearned runs on four hits in four innings while taking a no-decision
--Field Level Media