What's new: The Yankees are having some problems with their rotation, losing RHP Ivan Nova to Tommy John surgery and RHP Michael Pineda to a suspension and a back strain. But they're still leading the AL East, riding the rest of their rotation and a bullpen bolstered by the return of closer David Robertson. Though the teams already played four games at the Trop, the Rays will get their first look this weekend at Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka, who now leads their rotation. Other new faces of note include C Brian McCann, OFs Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Key stat: The Yankees, after Thursday's loss to the Mariners, are 14-1 when leading after six innings and 1-11 when tied or trailing.
Connections: Yankees backup C John Ryan Murphy is a Bradenton native, INF Kelly Johnson was a Ray last year, pitching coach Larry Rothschild was the first Devil Rays manager. Rays C Jose Molina is a former Yankee.
Series history: Yankees lead 167-112 overall, 90-47 in New York, 25-21 at the new stadium.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer