Yankees, Rays in search of wins ahead of break

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays aren’t exactly clicking on all cylinders.

The Yankees enter their three-game series against the Rays, which starts Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., with a 6-16 mark since June 13 and haven’t found a way to win two straight during that span.

The Rays face one of their division rivals two days after getting swept in a three-game series for the third time this season. Tampa Bay lost 13-2 on Sunday at the Texas Rangers for its most one-sided defeat in nearly a year. The Rays were outscored 20-5 for the series.

“Their pitchers did a good job,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of the Rangers. “I’d like to think we can have some better at-bats and find ways to score runs.”

The Yankees are coming off a 3-0 loss to the visiting Boston Red Sox on Sunday in the rubber game of their three-game series. New York is 0-6-1 in its past seven series.

“It feels terrible,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “You’ve got to be a little sick to be in this game. You’ve got to be able to weather it, so you’d like your stretch, where it’s a bump in the road, to not be this kind of stretch. … But it’s all right there in front of us. We’ve got a tough road trip coming.”

A day after scoring 14 runs, the lone positive for New York on Sunday was the performance by starting pitcher Luis Gil, who gave up one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“Hopefully, we can build on Luis’ outing and go out there and play our game, but this is not the time to feel sorry for yourself,” Boone said. “It’s the time to try and get guys going. Get guys moving and, hopefully, head into the All-Star break on a good note.”

New York, which has taken two of three from Tampa Bay in each of their first two series of the season, plans to send left-hander Carlos Rodon to the mound for the opener.

Rodon (9-6, 4.45 ERA) is trying to escape a personal rut after losing his past four starts. He most recently allowed three runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

Rodon has made six starts in his career against the Rays and is 0-2 with a 4.82 ERA.

Tampa Bay plans to start right-hander Ryan Pepiot on Tuesday. Pepiot (4-5, 4.40) is also desperate for a win, posting one victory since April. He allowed two runs and four hits in four innings of a 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

“Everything I threw over the plate, they either fouled it off or put it in play,” Pepiot said. “I was trying to do a little too much or try to nibble a little bit on the edges, making the counts go longer or end up throwing a ball that they’d take. I think (it was) a little bit of command issues, but I think I was just trying too hard to get swing-and-miss or weaker contact.”

Pepiot has never faced the Yankees in his career.

–Field Level Media