What's new: The Yankees have been a mess because of injuries and poor play, and new boss Hank Steinbrenner hasn't been shy about saying so and that there will be big changes. For now, they are battling to stay on the fringe of the wild-card race, and it won't be an easy road, as this trip that took them to Detroit for Monday's makeup game (a 13-9 win) then goes from St. Petersburg to Seattle to Anaheim. Carl Pavano has actually stabilized their revamped rotation, but the lineup has been inconsistent, despite the additions of Ivan Rodriguez and Xavier Nady, resulting in a 13-15 record for their first losing August since 1997. Injured pitcher Joba Chamberlain is expected back tonight to work as a reliever.
Key stat: The Yankees have used 15 rookies this season, including 11 pitchers.
Connections: Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland is an ex-Ray and Zephyrhills and USF product, reliever Jose Veras a former Tampa Bay prospect. Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer was a longtime Yankees coach.
Series history: Yankees lead 7-5 this season and have split six at the Trop. Overall, Yankees lead 118-60, 55-35 at the Trop.
Times staff writer