News18»Sports
3-MIN READ

Rays' Kiermaier: `They Don’t Like Us, We Don’t Like Them'

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell, left, juggles baseballs with a teammate during the seventh inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell, left, juggles baseballs with a teammate during the seventh inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

After losing eight of 10 games in a contentious regularseason series, the New York Yankees just cant shake the AL East rival Tampa Bay Rays.

SAN DIEGO: After losing eight of 10 games in a contentious regular-season series, the New York Yankees just cant shake the AL East rival Tampa Bay Rays.

Not only will the Bronx Bombers face the Rays in the AL Division Series at Petco Park in one of MLBs bubbles, but the teams that have a recent history of throwing at each others hitters are sharing the same resort hotel in northern San Diego County.

Outfielder Brett Gardner said hes cordial when he passes Rays players at the hotel.

Obviously its not ideal but its the cards that weve been dealt and I feel weve got a group of guys thats very professional and just business as usual.

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier minced no words when he said: They dont like us, we dont like them, and its going to continue to stay that way.

Responded Gardner: I think the feelings probably mutual.

Game 1 is Monday night, when Yankees ace Gerrit Cole a Southern California native opposes Blake Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner.

They got the best of us this year, arguably the best team in baseball, Gardner said of the Rays, the ALs top seed. They had a really good season, ran away with the division. Obviously its up to us to come out and play better against these guys.

Snell said hes not concentrating on the hard feelings between these teams in recent seasons.

I just know theyre a very talented team that Im looking forward to facing, Snell said.

Here are some things to look for in the series:

BAD BLOOD

Hard feelings between these teams date to spring training 2008. They hit a peak on Sept. 1 when Aroldis Chapman threw a 101 mph pitch near Mike Brosseaus head. That led Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash to say, Ive got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 miles an hour, and the Rays began wearing blue T-shirts with four horses lined up behind a fence.

Chapman earned a three-game suspension that remains under appeal. Both managers were suspended for one game apiece.

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka had hit Joey Wendle with a 95 mph fastball in the first inning. The next day, New York reliever Ben Heller was tossed for hitting Hunter Renfroe.

CALIFORNIA COLE

Cole grew up a Yankees fan in the heart of Angels and Dodgers territory, pitched at UCLA and then spent five seasons with Pittsburgh and two with Houston before realizing his dream when he signed a $324 million, nine-year contract with the Yankees.

Thanks to the oddness of 2020, hell make his second postseason start for the Yankees in an NL ballpark and could come back on short rest for a Game 5.

He went 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay in last years ALDS. He was 0-1 in three starts against them this regular season,

BRONX BOMBERS

The Yankees struggled with injuries and inconsistent play but also 10-game winning streak toward the end of the season. Theyre at their best when theyre hitting home runs. First baseman Luke Voit led the majors with 22 and the Yankees were fifth in the majors with 94. They hit seven homers in a two-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians in a wild-card series.

When weve got a full lineup and everyones healthy and theyre in there, weve got something special here in New York, said slugger Aaron Judge, who is from Northern California. Thats why were excited going into this postseason having everybody healthy. Its a scary lineup weve got when everyone is full go.

FORMER PADRES

There was a lot of pre-series talk about learning the layout of Petco Park. While the Yankees havent played at Petco Park since 2016, the Rays played here last season and they have former Padres outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot to give them the lowdown on the big downtown ballpark.

COMFORTABLE SNELL

Snell was injured last year when the Rays visited the Padres, but he loves Petco Park.

The chance of my team coming to San Diego to play is rare. Im taking it like something thats pretty unique. Its not going to happen again, most likely. Im enjoying it because I love this stadium, I love this stadium.

Its going to be even more weird when its like, The Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees at San Diego. Itll be weird but Im enjoying it. Its a beautiful place to be.

___

Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson


Next Story
Loading...