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Up next: Yankees

By MARC TOPKIN
Published May 28, 2004

SCOUTING REPORT: Since the Devil Rays last saw them in mid April, the Yankees have gotten on a pretty good roll.

After Thursday night's win in Baltimore, they are a season-high 10 games over .500 at 28-18 and have won eight of their past nine series. And they are doing it dramatically, with 18 come-from-behind victories, including 11 of their past 15.

Their success has been something of a team effort, as Derek Jeter is fighting to stay above .200, Jason Giambi is on the disabled list, Mike Mussina has a 5.00 ERA and Gary Sheffield has only four home runs.

But Alex Rodriguez has gotten hot (and has reached base in 35 straight games), Mariano Rivera and the rest of the bullpen have been dominant and Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui are producing consistently.

Starting pitching depth has been an issue, but the Yankees juggled their rotation so Kevin Brown, who has beaten the Rays three times, can pitch Saturday.

The Yankees are wrapping up their longest road trip in nearly two years, a 12-game journey that has taken them to Anaheim, Texas and Baltimore.

CONNECTIONS: John Flaherty, Miguel Cairo and Tanyon Sturtze are former Rays. ... Sheffield is a Tampa native and former Hillsborough High star. ... Bullpen coach Rich Monteleone is the brother-in-law of Rays pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. ... Rays manager Lou Piniella was a star player, coach, manager, GM and TV broadcaster for the Yankees. ... Senior adviser Don Zimmer is a former Yankees coach. ... Rays first baseman Tino Martinez was a Yankees star from 1996-2001. ... Infielder Rey Sanchez was a Yankee in 1997.

SEASON SERIES: The Yankees lead 3-2 this season, 68-29 overall and 32-17 at Tropicana Field. The Rays have never won a series against the Yankees before Sept. 1.

[Last modified May 28, 2004, 01:00:27]

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