The Rays are quite unlikely to make the postseason at this point, trailing the Red Sox by 7 in the Wild Card standings with 26 games remaining and only 3 head to head meetings with the Sox. It would seem they are resigned to their fate, given that they shipped Scott Kazmir to the Angels for minor leaguers just before the waiver trade deadline hit. Despite numerous pundits picking the Rays to finished ahead of either the Yanks or the Sox or both this year, they never lead the AL East and currently trail the Yanks by 14.5 games.
Former Twin and consummate asshole Matt Garza takes the hill for the Rays today. He started against Joba Chamberlain in the last game contested between the two teams and was fined after he admitted that he intentionally hit Mark Teixeira in the shoulder with a 94 MPH fastball in retaliation for Evan Longoria being brushed back earlier in the game and hit earlier in the series. Garza is sporting a pretty solid 4.01 ERA but has won only one game in his past 11 starts watching his record fall to 7-9.
CC Sabathia will toe the rubber first for the Yanks today. Over his last 6 starts he's been everything the Yanks could ask for and then some, rocking a 1.83 ERA, striking out 53(!), walking just 7(!!) and averaging over 7 1/3 innings per start. He's picked up 5 decisions during that time and has put himself in position to chase 20 wins as the season winds down. He better get going those because he needs 4 more and probably has six more starts to go. The big man's ERA is about a run and a half higher during daytime starts this year, but September is has been his best month throughout his career.
Making his triumphant return to the Yankees after hitting the DL with a broken thumb and making the line up 11.1111% hustle-y-er in the process, is the one and only, the gritty and gutty, the scrappy and feisty... Brett Gardner, ladies and gentlemen! He'll be making the start in CF for the first game, getting his jersey dirty and doing the little things that help the team win. (Otherwise known as being short and white.)
While most people celebrate Labor Day by not working, the Yanks will be rolling up their sleeves twice as high and their getting hands twice as dirty, in the city where the very first Labor Day in the States was ever celebrated. Heroic, I say.
There's room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill.
A working class hero is something to be.