The Rays haven't won a series in the Bronx in more than three years, but they have an opportunity to go up two games to none in their four-game set with a victory on Friday night.
The Rays took the first game on Thursday, 8-3, and they'll send Roberto Hernandez to the hill against a slumping Yankees offense on Friday. Two more wins this weekend would mark the Rays' first series victory at Yankee Stadium since they took both games of a two-game set from May 19-20, 2010.
Over the past two games, the Yankees' offense was shut out in 17 of 18 innings. They plated three runs in the sixth on Thursday but otherwise have been held scoreless on just eight hits.
If there's any pitcher to remedy the Yankees' struggling bats, it might be Hernandez, who has a 7.88 ERA in three career starts at Yankee Stadium. On May 24 in St. Petersburg, he surrendered five runs on six hits to the Bronx Bombers, who took advantage of three walks and won, 9-4.
In that same game, Yankees right-hander David Phelps tossed 7 2/3 solid frames and picked up the victory, and it's he who gets the ball on Friday.
Phelps wasn't pleased with his most recent performance, against the Angels on Saturday. He allowed four runs over six innings in Anaheim and called it "one of the worst jobs I've done all year managing a baseball game."
"They gave me a lead, and I gave it right back," Phelps said after the game. "Had a chance to go out in the seventh, threw two pitches and gave up a hit. That's not going to get it done."
In five career outings against the Rays -- three of them starts -- Phelps has a 2.50 ERA.
Rays: Price set for rehab
Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price will make a rehab start with Class A Charlotte on Friday. The left-hander, battling a sore triceps in his throwing arm, hasn't pitched since May 15.
"I think there's definitely a possibility he could be back before the All-Star break," manager Joe Maddon said. "The soreness set us back a little bit, but it seems to be back on task right now."
Maddon doesn't expect Price's outing to be too lengthy, even though he won't be on a pitch count.
Yankees: Wells slumping
Outfielder Vernon Wells has followed a very solid April with a dreadful couple of months. He went 0-for-7 in Wednesday's doubleheader against the Dodgers, and 0-for-3 in Thursday's series opener.
"Obviously, it gets frustrating as long as this has gone on, and we continue to work in the cage in search of things, and I've got to get better," Wells said.
Wells is now 9-for-his-last-90, but manager Joe Girardi hasn't wavered in his support, and he has inserted Wells in the starting lineup in 15 of 17 games this month.
• Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is hitting .407 in 27 career at-bats against Hernandez.
• Friday marks the first time since they faced Jered Weaver in Anaheim last Sunday that the Yankees will oppose a right-handed starting pitcher.
• Evan Longoria's third-inning sacrifice fly gave him the 500th RBI of his career. He tacked on two more -- courtesy of a pair of solo homers -- in the game.
• New York is 33-1 this season when leading after seven innings.