The Yankees play the Rays again Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, their latest opportunity to stop this train of Tampa Bay dominance that has quickly come to define Aaron Boone’s bunch.
“Our focus now turns to the Rays, who obviously have had our number a little bit here over the last several months,” Boone said Sunday, after his club edged the Nationals, 3-2, to close out a 7-2 homestand.
“A little bit” might win Major League Baseball’s Understatement of the Week honors. What used to be a fierce, balanced rivalry, since the Rays moved beyond their early years to become relevant, has turned more one-sided recently than your cell phone versus your pager. And it’s awfully difficult to fully buy into the Yankees’ revival until that snowball stops expanding and rolling.
It’s 16-5, Rays, since the start of last season, and while the series started getting chippy in 2018, as Tampa Bay arose from a four-year retool, the Yankees won the season series in both ’18 (10-9) and 2019 (12-7). This is a post-shutdown phenomenon.
Given how quickly and intensely this rivalry escalated into a Rays rout, it’s worth recalling the key moments that…