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Game 154 Preview: Rays at Yankees

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As Frankie Camp already kindly put this morning, the New York Yankees are one win away from clinching their fifteenth playoff berth over the past sixteen seasons. Take a second and think about that. New York has truly been one of the most dominating teams in any sport over the past sixteen years (not to mention the 22 World Championships that came before). 

Current Series

Yankees lead the series 1-0

Tue 09/20 WP: Ivan Nova (16 - 4)
LP: Wade Davis (10 - 10)
5 - 0 win

Tampa Bay Rays
@ New York Yankees

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011, 1:05 PM EDT
Yankee Stadium

James Shields vs Phil Hughes

Cloudy. Winds blowing in from right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around .


Complete Coverage >

Wed 09/21 7:05 PM EDT
Thu 09/22 7:05 PM EDT


Phil Hughes was scheduled to start for the Yankees, but was scratched not too long ago. Hector Noesi will make a spot start for the injured Hughes. This will be his first career start in the major leagues and manager Joe Girardi has cautioned that he will only allow Noesi to throw between 50-60 pitches in the first half of the doubleheader and that they will then "take it from there". That probably means they'll bring in Boone Logan regardless of the situation. 

For Tampa Bay, they send Complete Game James Shields to the mound. In his last two appearances against the Bombers, he's been simply stunning: 15.2 innings, 10 hits, two runs (only one earned), four walks and eleven strikeouts. If not for an error attempting to pickoff Robinson Cano at third base back on July 10, he would have exchanged zeros with CC Sabathia through eight innings (the game where Sabathia threw a CG shutout). 

Lineups, notes and such after the jump. 


New York: Brett Gardner (CF), Derek Jeter (SS), Robinson Cano (DH), Alex Rodriguez (3B), Nick Swisher (RF), Jorge Posada (1B), Andruw Jones (LF), Eduardo Nunez (2B), Austin Romine (C).

Tampa Bay: Desmond Jennings (LF), B.J. Upton (CF), Evan Longoria (3B), Matt Joyce (RF), Johnny Damon (DH), Casey Kotchman (1B), Jose Lobaton (C), Elliot Johnson (2B), Reid Brignac (SS)


1) The Rays were nine games out of the playoffs as of September 2nd. According to Steve Berthiaume (or his sources), no team has ever conquered that large of a deficit to make the playoffs in the history of baseball. Boston is doing their best to completely choke and let it happen. I'm not complaining. 

2) Ivan Nova's last eleven starts: 72.1 innings, 64 hits, 22 walks, 23 earned runs, 47 strikeouts. He has a legitimate shot at Rookie of the Year as well as being the second pitcher behind Sabathia when the postseason rolls around.

3) Magic number to clinch the American League East is three. Two wins today combined with a Boston loss could seal the deal. 

Gamethread will be up at 1:00 PM. 

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