Originally posted on Bronx Pinstripes  |  Last updated 7/2/12

The month of June was scorching hot for the Yankees, with blistering temperatures and a 20-7 record, the best in baseball. The Bronx Bombers look to keep their June success as the calendar has turned into July.  Trying to slow down the Yankees will be AL East division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Things haven’t been too pleasant for the Yanks down in Tropicana as they have lost their last seven road games in Tampa. The seven-game losing streak is tied for their longest road-losing streak to a single team in the last 20 seasons.

In order to snap that streak, Freddy Garcia will take the mound replacing Andy Pettitte. Garcia lost his spot when Pettitte re-joined the team, but has found a decent amount of success in the bullpen (2-0, 1.56 ERA-last 10 outings). Following Garcia on Tuesday will be Ivan Nova (9-2, 4.03 ERA) and then David Phelps (1-3, 3.16 ERA) for the finale on July 4th. Nova will be looking to notch his tenth victory of the season, as Phelps will try to give the team as much as he can while on an 85-pitch count.

Backing up the Yankees hurlers will be the hot bats of the offense, led by Robinson Cano’s 11 June homeruns (plus one already in July). Cano is hitting at an incredible rate and has established himself as an All-Star starter and an AL MVP candidate with his .310 average, 20 homeruns and 46 RBI.

For the Rays, youngster Matt Moore (4-5, 4.19 ERA) will take the mound tonight as he looks to match his last start against the Yankees last season as he stuck out 11 batters. On Tuesday the Rays will have James Shields (7-5, 4.04 ERA) throwing the rock and David Price (11-4, 2.92 ERA) follows him up on Wednesday. Price has been one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball this season and will give the Yankees everything they can handle.

The bats for the Rays have been inconsistent, as they have been outscored this season by their opponents despite their 41-38 record. Tampa has the bats that can explode at any given minute, so the Yankees pitchers will have to limit the big innings and keep the Yankee offense within striking distance.

As well as the Yankees have been playing, the Rays present a difficult match up for them especially with the pitching match ups is this series. If the Yankees can take two of three from the Rays, then it will be a big statement in the AL East. However, I more expect them to come away with only one win.

Hope everyone enjoys the series and has a fantastic Fourth of July. Be safe and go Yanks!

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