It’s always a good feeling when you can win five out of six against two of your biggest rivalries.
However, with the Rays taking two out of three from the Yankees this past weekend and then sweeping the Red Sox, the Rays have not gained any ground on New York in the American League East as the Yankees have gone on a mini-win streak.
The Rays still trail the Yankees by 4.5 games in the division, with the season’s final three games coming up this weekend at Yankee Stadium.
The good news for the Rays is that Wander Franco is expected to be back for the Rays this weekend. He will make the trip to New York and be activated at some point over the weekend.
It has been a rough season for Franco. The shortstop has missed 77 games this season with a leg injury and a bone injury in his hand. He is hitting .260 with five homers and 23 runs batted in.
With Franco’s return, we will see less of Taylor Walls. To say Walls has struggled this season would be an understatement. Walls is hitting .176 in 358 at-bats with six home runs.
The flip side of that coin is that Walls has been sound defensively, which has helped him stay in the lineup.
It’s no coincidence that the Rays have gone 16-3 since Harold Ramirez and Manuel Margot have both returned from the IL.
Ramirez continues to hit the cover off the ball, as he is hitting .323. Ramirez would be leading the American League in hitting if not for all the time spent on the IL.
The Rays received additional good news this week as Tyler Glasnow began a rehab assignment at AAA Durham. Glasnow worked one inning and threw 19 pitches, 11 for strikes, during his first rehab outing.
He walked a batter and struck out two in one inning of work.
Drew Rasmussen will be back in uniform for the Rays this weekend. Rasmussen was away from the team while celebrating the birth of his first child.
Rasmussen also received another honor this week. He was named August’s American League pitcher of the month.
Rasmussen went 3-1 in six starts with a 1.57 ERA. He also had a 33 to four-strikeout to walk ratio. Rasmussen will get the start on Friday night when the Rays open up a three-game series with the first-place Yankees.
The Yankees have seen their lead dwindle to 4.5 games over the Rays. So this will be another critical series for the Rays.
The Yankees lead the season series 9-7 with the Rays, and another series win would cut into that Yankee lead even more.
After a weekend in New York, the Rays will head North of the border to Toronto to play the Blue Jays in a five-game series.