Pettitte Looks To Take The Rays In The Rubber Game

Micheal RobinsonSenior Analyst IIApril 15, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 10:  Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the game on April 10, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Yankees won 4-1. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will take on Andy Sonnanstine (0-1, 9.64 ERA) in the last game before the Yankees head home for a very important day in Yankees history, when they open the new Yankee Stadium against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday in the Bronx.

They would like to leave Tampa on a winning note and take the series against the division rival Rays of Tampa Bay.

In the opening contest on Monday, the Rays raised their AL Championship banners and also raised eyebrows, ousting the Yankees and Chien-Ming Wang 15-5.

On Tuesday, it was the Yankees and A.J. Burnett who got the last laugh after the Rays received their AL Championship rings.

Burnett nearly tossed a no-hitter in which he didn't give up a hit until Carl Crawford hit one down the left field line with no outs in the seventh.  The Rays ended up evening up the game up at two runs a piece.

The Yankees went on to add a few insurance runs and then a Derek Jeter three-run shot to right center, going opposite field, put them away for good with the 7-2 win to even up the series.

Burnett is now 2-0 on the season with his second win on Tuesday against the Rays.

The matchup has gotten a little heated after Nick Swisher pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Monday, striking out Gabe Kapler and laughing about it.

On Tuesday, Swisher was thrown a head shot by Rays pitcher Matt Garza, only to be answered twice by the Yankees.  First, on the next pitch, Swisher took Garza deep.  The following inning, Burnett sent Evan Longoria to the dirt with a high and inside heater.

Anything can happen on Wednesday at Tropicana Field.

For now, the Rays are done unveiling banners and handing out rings and the Yankees will look to get above .500 and head home for their big opener with a series win under their belt.

In other news, Xavier Nady may need season ending surgery after leaving the game early and then a later MRI revealed a tear in his elbow.  However, with the hot bat of Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera on the bench, the Yankees should hold over just fine.

Johnny Damon looks to return to the lineup Wednesday after having flu-like symptoms on Tuesday and sitting out.  “Under the weather,” Damon said. “Body sore. It just got to me.”

Alex Rodriguez has been in the dugout with his team while he is rehabbing in Tampa.  It is unsure whether he will be in New York for the big day, but I would imagine he will make the trip to be in the dugout for such a special day. Time will tell. 

A-Rod's return still seems to be around or before May 15 as he feels great and everything is going well.