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News » Yankees-Rays Preview 2009-04-15

Yankees-Rays Preview 2009-04-15

Yankees-Rays Preview 2009-04-15
Before the New York Yankees go home to celebrate the opening of their lavish new $1.5 billion stadium, they would like to secure a winning road trip.

The Yankees will try to accomplish that behind veteran starter Andy Pettitte on Wednesday in the finale of a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.

New York (4-4) has split the first eight games of the season-opening trip, which precedes the official opening of the new Yankee Stadium on Thursday against Cleveland. The Yankees lost 15-5 to begin this series Monday before bouncing back behind A.J. Burnett to win 7-2 on Tuesday.

"You're not going to score 10-plus runs every night," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after his club received its championship rings Tuesday.

The Yankees will send Pettitte (1-0, 1.29 ERA) and his terrific career numbers against Tampa Bay to the mound in an attempt to win the series. Pettitte is 15-4 with a 3.63 ERA in his career against the Rays (4-4), including 8-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 12 starts at Tropicana Field.

The left-hander had a solid season debut Friday at Kansas City, yielding one run and three hits over seven innings to earn a 4-1 victory.

"It means that for four days I'm going to be fairly in a good mood instead of being miserable and wanting to get back out there," Pettitte said. "So for me at this point in my career, that's what it is. I'm just happy I could give us a good start. Hopefully we can get rolling and all of us will get going together."

Pettitte will have to follow up a terrific outing from Burnett, who showed Tuesday why he received a five-year, $82 million contract from New York in the offseason. Burnett took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and yielded two runs and three hits through eight for his second win in as many starts.

Another expensive acquisition, first baseman Mark Teixeira, returned to the lineup after missing three straight games with a sore left wrist and had a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

"Sac flys aren't sexy, but they get the job done," he said.

Yet another new Yankee, outfielder Nick Swisher homered for the second straight game and went 2-for-4 to continue his torrid start. Swisher is 11-for-24 (.458) with four homers and 11 RBIs, while reaching base safely in each game this season.

Johnny Damon, who is fighting a bad cold, sat out Tuesday but expects to play Wednesday.

"Under the weather," Damon said. "Body sore. It just got to me."

New York has been able to keep red-hot Evan Longoria in check so far in this series. The Rays third baseman is hitting .441 (15-for-34) with five homers and 12 RBIs on the season, but is a middling 2-for-7 with five strikeouts versus the Yankees this week.

Longoria is 1-for-8 with five strikeouts in his career versus Pettitte.

Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine (0-1, 9.64) will try to bounce back from a bad first outing of 2009. The right-hander lasted 4 2-3 innings in Friday's 5-4 loss at Baltimore, giving up five runs and eight hits.

He is 2-1 with a 6.08 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 15, 2009

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