Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays-Yankees preview

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What's new: The Yankees have been muddling along, winning 12 of 21 going into Sunday night, but have stayed near the top of the mediocre AL East. Like the Rays, a lack of offense has been their primary problem. SS Derek Jeter, who turned 40 on Thursday, has been hot, along with 1B Mark Teixeira. Aside from Masahiro Tanaka, whom the Rays won't face, their rotation has been pedestrian, still missing injured CC Sabathia. Middle reliever Dellin Betances has been the best in a solid bullpen.

Key stat: The Yankees are 17-3 when leading after the first inning, 24-35 in all other games.

Connections: Yankees INF Kelly Johnson was a Ray last year, pitching coach Larry Rothschild was the first Devil Rays manager, Jeter is soon to be a Tampa retiree. Rays C Jose Molina is a former Yankee.

Series history: Rays lead 4-3 this season; Yankees lead 168-114 overall, 91-49 in New York, 26-23 at the new stadium.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

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