Do you know that rather less than half of the Yankees’ losses through the 2020 shortened season got here in opposition to the Tampa Bay Rays, the winners of the AL East at 40-20? The Yankees went 33-27, sufficient to make one of many Wild Card spots. However the Rays simply had their quantity all season, together with the postseason after they superior to the ALCS after a Sport 5 victory over the Yanks.
And despite the fact that Tampa would advance to the World Collection after a sequence with the Houston Astros, DJ LeMahieu nonetheless believes the Yankees had been the higher group.
There have been 11 regular-season losses to the Rays, and three within the postseason in order for you the total 14-game whole. Over that span, the Yanks solely secured six victories. However throughout his press convention by way of Zoom on Thursday to welcome him again to the Bronx on a brand new, multi-year deal, LeMahieu was fairly blunt when speaking about his division foe.
“I feel we bumped into a very sizzling Tampa group,” LeMahieu mentioned. “I believed we had been higher than they had been. I simply suppose they made a pair performs that we didn’t and that was the underside line. Shifting ahead, we acquired to make these performs, no matter it’s. I simply thought final 12 months they’d our quantity, and it was disappointing.”
LeMahieu has at all times been a straight shooter since he’s come over from the Colorado Rockies two seasons in the past, and it reveals right here. The Yankees had the star energy on the stat sheet, however they couldn’t appear to sluggish the Rays down. Their lineup, led by up-and-coming stars like Randy Arozarena, merely performed nicely off one another. Sure, the homer was there quite a few instances in opposition to the Yanks, however they managed to get runs throughout the board in each method doable it appeared.
Even Gerrit Cole, who the Yankees spent a boatload of cash on, had a difficulty with Ji-Man Choi. He’s confronted extra established juggernauts within the sport, however it’s Choi that’s his arch nemesis.
On the finish of the day, the Rays are the reigning AL champions heading into the season. And by proper, they’re the group to beat within the division, too, as a result of they sit on that throne as nicely. LeMahieu believes his Yankees are nonetheless primed to win a World Collection.
“That is only a group I wish to be part of. It’s an thrilling group. We simply must recover from that hump,” he mentioned. “There’s no secret we have to recover from that hump.
“We acquired some unfinished enterprise.”
They simply want to determine how you can beat the Rays first.