New York Yankees (48-31) at Tampa Bay (42-38), 3:10 p.m. EDT
The New York Yankees have dropped nine straight at Tropicana Field and 11 in a row on artificial turf.
They will try to end those streaks against a pitcher tied for the league lead in victories.
David Price can become the AL’s first 12-game winner Wednesday when he attempts to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to another home sweep of the Yankees.
New York (48-32) fell 7-4 on Tuesday, dropping to 4-7 against Tampa Bay (43-38) this year with a 0-5 mark at Tropicana. The Yankees haven’t lost 10 straight in an opposing ballpark since a 15-game slide between July 20, 1989 and September 3, 1991 at the old Arlington Stadium in Texas.
Price (1-4, 2.92 ERA) can add to those woes as he tries to match the Mets’ R.A. Dickey for the major league lead in victories. He has posted a 1.19 ERA in winning all five home starts against AL opponents, beating the Yankees on April 7 by yielding two runs over 6 1-3 innings in an 8-6 victory.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA in three starts overall against New York this year, and 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA in seven career at home against the Yankees with the Rays winning six of those outings.
The only four hitters with at least 40 at-bats against Price are all Yankees, with Derek Jeter hitting .289 within that group while Mark Teixeira (.214), Robinson Cano (.244) and Curtis Granderson (.195 with 15 strikeouts in 41 at-bats) have fared poorly. Nick Swisher has posed problems for Price, going 12 for 30 with eight walks – the most off the southpaw.
Price improved to 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his last three starts by giving up two runs over seven innings Friday in a 4-2 home victory over Detroit. He left due to lower back tightness, but had no issues in a bullpen session Sunday.
It may help the Rays that the Yankees will give rookie David Phelps (1-3, 3.16) his third major league start. Phelps is taking the rotation spot of injured ace CC Sabathia, whose turn last Friday was filled by the big league debut of Adam Warren – who has been sent back to the minors.
Phelps relieved Warren in that 14-7 defeat to the White Sox and gave up two runs over 3 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts, throwing 4 2-3 scoreless innings against Tampa Bay in a 4-1 loss May 9.
“He’s done a pretty good job for us when we’ve called upon him to pitch,” manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees’ official website. “The biggest thing was he just wasn’t really stretched out.”
Girardi gave Teixeira the night off Tuesday to keep the first baseman off the turf. Teixeira’s error led to the Rays’ winning run in Monday’s 4-3 defeat.
The poor defense continued Tuesday as New York matched a season high with three errors that led to three unearned runs for Tampa Bay. The Yankees entered the contest with the majors’ third-fewest errors with 36.
“They are going to have nights when they make some errors,” Girardi said. “For the most part, our defense has been pretty good this year.”
B.J. Upton has broken out of a 3-for-41 slump by going 4 for 8 with a homer in this series.