The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are fifth in the American League (ninth in the majors) in runs scored. They’re also fifth in the majors in EQA. Thus far this season they are 6-3 against the Yankees, who are second in the majors in both categories. The Devil Rays have now won seven games on the road this year, three of them in the Bronx. Tampa has scored 7.2 runs per game against the Yankees, scoring five or more in eight of their nine meetings. The Yankees have scored 7.4 runs against Tampa, scoring four or fewer runs in five of their nine meetings, but scoring a total of 39 runs in just two games.
Those are a lot of ugly numbers. Chien-Ming Wang, whom I’m officially dubbing the anchor of this Yankee rotation (Moose and Unit are the aces, Meat and Mr. Nasty are the question marks, Tiger is the anchor), looks to keep the top half of the scoreboard neat and tidy tonight as the Yanks try to save some face by salvaging a split of this four game series with the worst team in their league.
Wang’s mound opponent is 6’9″ lefty Mark Hendrickson (whose official name, by the way, is “6’9″ Lefty Mark Hendrickson”). Hendrickson has some ugly numbers of his own (5.83 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 4.18 K/9, 1.50 K/BB, 1.27 HR/9, opponents hitting .322/.371/.516, 7.55 road ERA, 9.43 June ERA). The only thing Hendrickson does well is stifle lefties (.219/.269/.329). That should mean more bench time for Tony Mowack. Whether or not we’ll see Russ Johnson (2 for 9 vs. lefties this year after an 0 for 2 against Scott Kazmir yesterday) get his second consecutive start at first, well, I doubt it, but we’ll find out soon enough.