Yandy Diaz and the Rays try to even the series against the Yankees

In the absence of one of their biggest stars – Wander Franco, who is on administrative leave – the Tampa Bay Rays are still going strong, thanks in large part to Yandy Diaz.

The rays will play the middle game of a three-game series against the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Diaz is likely to lead again.

Diaz, the club’s leadoff hitter, leads the American League in batting averages (.326) and three-hit games (16). He ranks second in on-base percentage (.403) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.910), in both categories only behind Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani.

In 111 games that year, Diaz has 44 multi-hit performances.

In the rays‘ 2:6 defeat against the Yanks On Friday, Tampa Bay managed just four hits, but Diaz topped it with a 109.4-mph laser for his third home run of August.

Diaz collected five goals, several of them at key moments rays‘ Three-game winning streak against Colorado earlier this week.

“We’ve been fortunate that when it looks like we need a big hit, Yandy is either up or coming soon,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “It seems like he comes through more often than not.”

Diaz’s Friday blast was almost everything rays was able to prevail against Gerrit Cole, who defeated Zach Eflin in a duel of the first-class AL pitchers.

Cole fanned 11 – his fifth time in double digits this year – and didn’t run a batter in 7 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) and dropped his AL-best ERA to 2.95.

“That’s what he’s doing – he’s got great ability, an elite commando when he’s competing like tonight,” Cash said. “We saw two of the best pitchers in the American League go head-to-head today and they went head-to-head.”

Yanks Manager Aaron Boone said he believes Cole is in talks about the Cy Young Award.

“Oh yeah, he’s playing that season,” said Boone, whose club was 45-19 on the first goal. “There’s still a long way to go, but he’s in the middle of a very special season.”

New York DJ LeMahieu went deep twice in his first multi-homer game since May 7, 2021.

On Saturday, Clarke Schmidt (8-7, 4.68 ERA) will win the hill for the Yanks. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts this month after allowing 13 runs in 18 1/3 innings. He had won six straight decisions before suffering a loss or no decision in his last two games.

In seven career appearances and three starts against Tampa Bay, Schmidt is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. The rays beat him on May 14 in New York when he hit seven runs in six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Tampa Bay’s Saturday starter Tyler Glasnow (6-4, 3.35) will try to recover from a tough outing last Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader against the hosts Angels.

The 6-foot-8 right-hander gave up seven runs (five of them earned) and eight hits in six innings in a 7-6 loss.

In eight career starts against the Yanks, Glasnow is 3-2 with an ERA of 3.12. He booked a win in New York on July 31 after giving up a three-hit run in seven innings rays won 5-1.

—Field-level media

https://deadspin.com/yandy-diaz-rays-try-to-level-series-against-yankees-1850777434?utm_source=regular Yandy Diaz and the Rays try to even the series against the Yankees

Ian Walker

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