The Tampa Bay Rays (17-9) swept the New York Yankees (16-9) and secured first place in the AL East as the Bronx Bombers slipped to second. The losing streak coincides with another unfortunate string of injuries to key Yankees that struck down Gleyber Torres (hamstring), James Paxton (elbow), and Zack Britton (hamstring).

Gleyber Torres Injury Yankees James PAxton Zack Britton Tampa Bay Rays
NY Yankees SS Gleyber Torres is the latest member of the team to go down with an injury. (Image: Getty)

They join the other Yankees already on the IL, including DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Tommy Kahnle, and Kyle Higashioka. Kahnle is lost for the season with Tommy John surgery.

The injuries continue to pile up for the Yankees, just like last season. But last year, the Yanks tapped into their deep pool of AAA players to fill the void using a “next-man-up” philosophy, and rose to the occasion. The banged-up Yanks won 100 games last year. During this year’s pandemic-shortened MLB season, it will be a tougher road to recovery.

“When anyone goes down with something, I feel for the individual,” manager Aaron Boone told The Athletic. “We’ll find a way to make do, and it creates an opportunity in their absence.”

“It’s crazy that this is happening again,” said first baseman Luke Voit. “We’re going to fight through it.”

Voit currently leads the Yankees with 10 home runs and 20 RBI. Before Aaron Judge headed to the IL with a calf strain, he knocked nine home runs and drove in 20 runs while hitting .290. When LeMahieu went down with a thumb injury, he led the AL in hitting with a .411 batting average,

Three Bad Beats

The Yanks hope the injury to shortstop Gleyber Torres is nothing serious, and more of a day-to-day situation that won’t land him on the IL for any significant amount of time. Torres got off to an extremely slow start and was bogged down in a horrid slump through the first dozen games. He finally began hitting the ball with more confidence before he exited a game early with tightness in his hamstring.

With pitchers, things are a little dicier.

Zack Britton, last season’s set-up man, excelled in the closer role this season while Aroldis Chapman recovered from COVID-19. But Britton didn’t look right in his last appearance against the Rays, allowing two hits and two runs in a 4-2 loss. Prior to his worst outing of the season, Britton had a 1.08 ERA.

James Paxton missed spring training while recovering from back surgery. It took him a couple of starts before he looked like the scary “Big Maple” that once threw a no-no. Paxton became another injury bad beat when the Yankees announced he would be undergoing an MRI to determine the severity of an injury in his forearm and elbow.

Tampa in First Place, Now 15/1 Odds

The Tampa Bay Rays own the Yankees this season. The Rays are 6-1 in seven games this season. They face the Yanks three more times. The Rays seized a half-game lead over the Yanks in the AL East. DraftKings updated its divisional odds, and the Yankees are now listed at -325 to win the AL East while the Rays are now +150 to clinch the division.

With 17 wins, the Rays are tied with the Minnesota Twins (17-9). The Oakland A’s have the best team in the American League at 18-8. In the National League, the red-hot LA Dodgers are closing in on 20 wins.

According to a recent update by Draft Kings, the Tampa Bay Rays improved to +1500 or 15/1 odds to win the 2020 World Series. The surging Oakland A’s also saw their championship odds move to 12/1.

The Yankees are the second-highest favorite on the futures board at 4/1 odds to win the World Series. The Dodgers are the current favorite at +380 to win the championship.

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