Rays look to keep rolling against Yankees

MLB

Tampa Bay’s Joey Wendle had an easy explanation for his club’s 10-5 pounding of the rival New York Yankees in the Rays’ home opener on Friday afternoon.

And he’s looking for more of the same Saturday.

“Contributions from everybody — one through nine,” Wendle said of Tampa Bay’s 13-hit, 10-run outburst to open its play at Tropicana Field. “It seemed like everything was clicking on all cylinders.

“A great game for us.”

Wendle provided the go-ahead runs with a two-run double in Tampa Bay’s three-run third inning. The team then tacked on four tallies in the next frame and never looked back.

The American League champions will seek similar production Saturday when they face the Yankees in the middle game of the series.

The domed stadium had 9,021 fans in attendance for the unveiling of the two banners representing the clinching of the AL East Division and the AL pennant.

With the banner day in mind, Mike Brosseau — who ended New York’s 2020 season with a late solo homer in the ALDS — expects this year’s rivalry with the Yankees to be even more intense as they try to recapture the division’s top spot.

“I think there’s definitely in their mind some unfinished business,” he said, “and that’s going to just fuel the rivalry a little bit more.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the messaging is a long process.

“We always want to send a message and let you know who you’re playing,” Boone said. “The message is sent throughout the year with our play, (but) I don’t get too caught up in making a statement in one game.”

The Rays improved to 12-12 all time in home openers and play 16 of their next 22 at the Trop.

Including the postseason, they have beaten the Yankees in 12 of the last 16 contests since the beginning of the 2020 season.

Right-hander Chris Archer (0-1, 13.50) will make just his second start since Aug. 20, 2019 after being roughed for four runs (three earned) in two innings of relief last Saturday.

Archer is 6-7 with a 3.14 ERA in 18 career starts against the Bronx Bombers.

Before the series began, the Rays placed reliever Pete Fairbanks (rotator cuff strain) on the 10-day Injured List, but he is expected to be out a month.

Hunter Strickland was called up from the alternate site and pitched two innings Friday, allowing only DJ LeMahieu’s solo homer in the eighth.

Yankees right-hander Domingo German (0-1, 9.00) will make his sixth appearance and fifth start against the Rays — going 3-0 with a 5.73 ERA against them.

Initially in Friday’s lineup, third baseman Gio Urshela was a late scratch. The team announced he had been placed on the COVID injured list “due to side effects from vaccination” and called up Mike Ford from the taxi squad.

“(Gio) just wasn’t feeling well before the game probably in a reaction to the vaccine,” said Boone. “He actually came in this morning fine, and once he got rolling a little bit, he had those symptoms. I just talked to him after the game, and he said he felt good.”

With LeMahieu moving to third, Tyler Wade was inserted into the lineup at second and went 1-for-3 and scored a run.

Slugger Aaron Judge (side soreness) hit in the cage in the morning but did not make an appearance in the game.

–Field Level Media

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