Tempers may flare as Yankees, Rays end season series

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After six frustrating experiences, the New York Yankees finally own a win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

However, seeing his team lose to the Yankees is not what infuriated Rays manager Kevin Cash on Tuesday, and it is possible there could be another dustup Wednesday night when the American League East rivals conclude their season series at Yankee Stadium.

The Rays (25-12) lead the season series 7-2. The Yankees (20-14) won the first game of a doubleheader Aug. 8 in Tampa Bay and went winless against the Rays until getting a 5-3 win on Tuesday.

The Yankees won Tuesday on a two-run double by Gio Urshela and two homers by DJ LeMahieu, but the real action occurred after Aroldis Chapman struck out pinch hitter Mike Brosseau.

Chapman’s first pitch to Brosseau with two outs in the ninth inning whizzed past Brosseau’s head, and umpires met before issuing warnings to both benches in the latest incident between the intense rivals.

Chapman struck out Brosseau to end it, and Brosseau began walking toward the visiting dugout before turning back to exchange words with someone on the Yankees. The dugouts and benches emptied and players gathered near home plate, but they mostly kept their distance before dispersing to their respective clubhouses.

“I get it they don’t like being thrown up and in, but enough’s enough,” Cash said. “We’re talking about a 100 mph fastball over a young man’s head. It makes no sense.”

The fiery words were uttered after Chapman got his first save while making his third appearance. He did not make his season debut until Aug. 17 because he was recovering from the coronavirus.

While Cash did not outright say there would be some retaliation, the Yankees are hopeful there won’t be but also appear ready for it. They enter the finale 3 1/2 games behind the Rays, who are 19-4 in their last 23 games.

“He’s still not as sharp as he’s going to be,” New York reliever Zack Britton said of Chapman. “What they decide to do is on them and we’ll see how it transpires, but I would hope nothing would go further than what it did today.”

LeMahieu said, “It sounds like they’re going to try and throw at us tomorrow. We’ll be ready.”

This season, the Rays have been hit five times by the Yankees, and Tampa Bay pitchers have hit New York batters three times so far.

“We beat them time and time again, and maybe that frustrates them, I don’t know,” Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “We like to think that is the reason. It’s easy to get mad over certain things like that, so that’s my opinion.”

If the Rays opt for retaliation early in the game, they will be doing it with Charlie Morton, who will be limited to about 40 to 50 pitches after missing three weeks with right shoulder inflammation.

Before getting hurt, Morton was 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts. He last pitched Aug. 9 against the Yankees, when he exited after pitching two innings.

Morton’s high ERA is mostly based on his season debut, when he allowed six runs in four innings in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 24. In his next two starts before getting hurt, he gave up three runs in 10 2/3 innings.

Morton threw 93 pitches in the start before he got hurt on Aug. 4 against the Boston Red Sox, though his return likely will feature significantly fewer pitches.

Morton is 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA in nine career starts against the Yankees.

Jordan Montgomery, who starts for the Yankees, is 2-1 with a 4.44 ERA in five starts this year. He last pitched Friday and took a no-decision after allowing two earned runs on five hits in five-plus innings of a 6-4 loss to the New York Mets.

Montgomery is 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA in five career starts against Tampa Bay.

–Field Level Media

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