The Yankees open the second half tonight in Tampa against the pesky Devil Rays. Andy Pettitte, who has struggled mightily in his last two starts, goes against Jamie Shields.
Non-fantasy players might not be too familiar with Shields, but he's rather quietly become Tampa's ace while Scott Kazmir has struggled with his control. Shields has a 3.82 ERA, but his peripherals are better than that. He sports a 1.03 WHIP, an 8.05 K/9, and has held opposing hitters to a .671 OPS. Though he throws from the right side, he's fared even better against lefties than righties, which doesn't bode well for the Yankees. Shields has yet to face the Yankees this year, giving him another advantage. If he has a weakness, it's that he tends to tire after about 90 pitches, so if the Yankees can keep it close, they might be able to get to him or the Rays' woeful middle relievers.
The Yankees have 14 games left against the D-Rays, and if they're going to get back in this thing, they'll need to win about 13 of them. Which...seems unlikely. While they're in town, they can say hello to their old friend Carlos Pena, who sure would like nice at first base right around now. Wait! Nevermind! We have Miguel Cairo! We don't need a first baseman! Silly! What was I thinking?