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What's new: It will be an emotional weekend in New York with tributes to mark the deaths of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and public-address announcer Bob Sheppard. The Yankees are playing well, too, having won nine of their past 11 before the break to post a majors-best 54-32 mark. Plus, they have their pitching lined up, and 1B Mark Teixeira has been hot. 3B Alex Rodriguez does have a thumb issue, and middle relief remains a concern.

Key stat: This is the first time since 2004 the Yankees led the AL East at the All-Star break. The previous eight times they did, they won it.

Connections: Rays LHP Randy Choate is a former Yankee as are bullpen coach Bobby Ramos and senior adviser Don Zimmer. Yankees reliever Chad Gaudin and pitching coach Dave Eiland are former Rays.

Series history: Rays lead 3-2 this year; Yankees lead 135-72 overall, 71-31 in New York and 6-5 at the new Yankee Stadium.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Up next: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees 07/15/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:28pm]
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