Yankees vs. Rays: Head to Head & Rivalry

Yankees vs. Rays: Head to Head & Rivalry

When one thinks of iconic rivalries in the MLB’s AL East division, the New York Yankees will surely come to mind… albeit with their rival being the Boston Red Sox. And while that rivalry is certainly historic and noteworthy, the bitterness that Yankees fans hold toward the Tampa Bay Rays is almost as distinct as with the Red Sox — especially because Yankees fans generally believe that, considering the Rays’ payroll is a fraction of their own team’s, they should be beating the Rays year in, year out. However, that has been far from the case in the past 15 years.

Yankees vs. Rays Head to Head History

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays have played each other a total of 455 games, including both the regular season and the postseason. The Yankees hold the overall edge in the all-time series, with a 258-197 (56.7%) winning record. When it comes to the playoffs, however, the Rays hold a narrow 3-2 edge.

The first matchup between the Yankees and Rays took place on June 3, 1998, which the Yankees won 7-1. The most recent matchup between these two years took place on August 27, 2023, which the Rays won 7-4.

The longest winning streak between New York and Tampa Bay came when the Yankees won 11 straight games against the (then Devil) Rays, from September 17, 1998 until September 24, 1999.

NY Yankees vs. Tampa Bay: Head-to-Head 2020-2023

DateWinnerLocationScoreRun Line CoverO/U Result
08/27/23Tampa BayHome7-4Tampa Bay -1.5Over 8.0
08/26/23Tampa BayHome3-0Tampa Bay -1.5Under 7.5
08/25/23NY YankeesAway6-2NY Yankees +1.5Over 7.5
08/02/23NY YankeesHome7-2NY Yankees -1.5Over 7.5
08/01/23Tampa BayAway5-2Tampa Bay -1.5Under 8.5
07/31/23Tampa BayAway5-1Tampa Bay -1.5Under 9.0
05/14/23Tampa BayAway8-7NY Yankees +1.5Over 8.5
05/13/23NY YankeesHome9-8NY Yankees +1.5Over 8.0
05/12/23NY YankeesHome6-5Tampa Bay +1.5Over 8.5
05/11/23Tampa BayAway8-2Tampa Bay +1.5Over 8.5
05/07/23Tampa BayHome8-7Tampa Bay +1.5Over 7.5
05/06/23NY YankeesAway3-2NY Yankees +1.5Under 7.5
05/05/23Tampa BayHome5-4NY Yankees +1.5Over 8.5
09/11/22NY YankeesHome10-4NY Yankees -1.5Over 8.5
09/10/22NY YankeesHome10-3NY Yankees -1.5Over 8.0
09/09/22Tampa BayAway4-2Tampa Bay +1.5Under 7.0
09/04/22NY YankeesAway2-1Tampa Bay +1.5Under 7.0
09/03/22Tampa BayHome2-1NY Yankees +1.5Under 7.5
09/02/22Tampa BayHome9-0Tampa Bay -1.5Over 7.5
08/17/22NY YankeesHome8-7Tampa Bay +1.5Over 8.5
08/16/22Tampa BayAway3-1Tampa Bay +1.5Under 7.0
08/15/22Tampa BayAway4-0Tampa Bay +1.5Under 7.0
06/22/22NY YankeesAway5-4Tampa Bay +1.5Over 7.0
06/21/22Tampa BayHome5-4Tampa Bay +1.5Over 7.0
06/20/22NY YankeesAway4-2NY Yankees -1.5Under 6.5
06/16/22NY YankeesHome2-1Tampa Bay +1.5Under 8.5
06/15/22NY YankeesHome4-3Tampa Bay +1.5Over 6.5
06/14/22NY YankeesHome2-0NY Yankees -1.5Under 7.5
05/29/22Tampa BayHome4-2Tampa Bay -1.5Under 6.5
05/28/22Tampa BayHome3-1Tampa Bay +1.5Under 6.5
05/27/22NY YankeesAway2-0NY Yankees +1.5Under 7.0
05/26/22NY YankeesAway7-2NY Yankees -1.5Over 7.0
10/03/21NY YankeesHome1-0Tampa Bay +1.5Under 9.0
10/02/21Tampa BayAway12-2Tampa Bay +1.5Over 8.5
10/01/21Tampa BayAway4-3Tampa Bay +1.5Under 8.5
07/29/21Tampa BayHome14-0Tampa Bay +1.5Over 7.5
07/28/21NY YankeesAway3-1NY Yankees +1.5Under 8.5
07/27/21NY YankeesAway4-3NY Yankees +1.5Under 7.5
06/03/21Tampa BayAway9-2Tampa Bay +1.5Over 7.5
06/02/21NY YankeesHome4-3Tampa Bay +1.5Under 8.0
06/01/21NY YankeesHome5-3NY Yankees +1.5Over 7.5
05/31/21Tampa BayAway3-1Tampa Bay +1.5Under 8.5
05/13/21Tampa BayHome9-1Tampa Bay +1.5Over 8.0
05/12/21NY YankeesAway1-0Tampa Bay +1.5Under 7.0
05/11/21NY YankeesAway3-1NY Yankees -1.5Under 8.0
04/18/21Tampa BayAway4-2Tampa Bay +1.5Under 7.5
04/17/21Tampa BayAway6-3Tampa Bay -1.5Over 7.5
04/16/21Tampa BayAway8-2Tampa Bay +1.5Over 9.5
04/11/21NY YankeesAway8-4NY Yankees -1.5Over 8.5
04/10/21Tampa BayHome4-0Tampa Bay +1.5Under 9.5
04/09/21Tampa BayHome10-5Tampa Bay +1.5Over 8.0
10/09/20Tampa BayNeutral2-1Tampa Bay +1.5Under 7.5
10/08/20NY YankeesNeutral5-1NY Yankees -1.5Under 9.0
10/07/20Tampa BayNeutral8-4Tampa Bay +1.5Over 9.0
10/06/20Tampa BayNeutral7-5Tampa Bay -1.5Over 8.5
10/05/20NY YankeesNeutral9-3NY Yankees -1.5Over 7.0
09/02/20Tampa BayAway5-2Tampa Bay +1.5Under 9.0
09/01/20NY YankeesHome5-3NY Yankees -1.5Under 9.0
08/31/20Tampa BayAway5-3Tampa Bay +1.5Over 7.5
08/20/20Tampa BayAway10-5Tampa Bay +1.5Over 9.5
08/19/20Tampa BayAway4-2Tampa Bay +1.5Under 8.5
08/18/20Tampa BayAway6-3Tampa Bay -1.5Over 8.5
08/09/20Tampa BayHome4-3NY Yankees +1.5Under 8.5
08/08/20Tampa BayHome5-3Tampa Bay +1.5Over 6.5
08/08/20NY YankeesAway8-4NY Yankees -1.5Over 6.0
08/07/20Tampa BayHome1-0NY Yankees +1.5Under 8.0

Yankees vs. Rays Rivalry Background

Although these two teams have always played in the same division (with the Rays entering the MLB in 1998), there wasn’t any bitter feelings between the clubs for the first decade or so of the Rays’ existence. The Yankees were in the midst of their dynastic, 4 World Series-winning run (along with 9 straight AL East division titles) in 5 years, while the Rays were a brand new team and were perpetual bottom-dwellers in not only the AL East, but the entire MLB.

In fact, from the Rays first season in 1998 to 2007, the Yankees had the MLB’s best record (985-631, a 61% winning percentage), while the Rays had the MLB’s worst (645-972, a 39.9% winning percentage).

But all of that changed in 2008, when Rays infielder Elliot Johnson ran over Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli at home plate during a spring-training game. This moment seemed to spark some bad blood between the clubs; especially because, ever since that fateful spring training collision over 15 years ago, these two squads have been among the best clubs in all of baseball — which, prior to the 2023 season, is proven by the Yankees having the MLB’s second best record, and the Rays having the fourth best record since 2008.

Not to mention that the Rays have won 4 AL East titles in that span, while the Yankees have won 5 (and the most recent between them, in 2022). The Rays do hold a slight edge in World Series appearances since 2008, having been to 2 of them — although they didn’t win either. While the Yankees have only been to one World Series since 2008 (in 2009), they won it.

Despite the impressive regular and postseason success of both of these franchises in recent years, it may come as a surprise that they have only faced off in the postseason once. This came during the 2020 playoffs, in the AL Divisional Series that was one of the best such series’ we’ve seen in recent years.

2020 AL Divisional Series

Before we discuss how this AL Divisional Series between the Rays and Yankees went, it’s important to note that this series took place during the height of the COVID pandemic, and therefore all games were played at Petco Park in San Diego.

The first game was technically a home game for the Rays. The Yankees scored 1 run in the top of the first inning, but then the Rays responded with a solo home run against Yankees starter Gerrit Cole in the bottom of the first. From there, the Rays scored 2 runs in the fourth inning, the Yankees scored 2 in the fifth, and that was how the game remained until the ninth and final inning.

Then, in the top of the ninth, Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam, and Yankees tacked on another run, to produce a 9-3 lead. This was how the game ended, with the Yankees winning 9-3.

Game 2 of the 5-game series was also a home game for the Rays. The Rays scored 5 runs in the first three innings, but then the Yankees scored 3 runs in the fourth inning to make the score 5-4, in favor of the Rays. Then the Rays scored 1 run in each the fifth and sixth inning, and ultimately won Game 2 by a score of 7-5, evening up the series 1-1.

Game 3 was technically a Yankees home game — but largely belonged to the Rays. Tampa Bay scored the game’s first run in the second inning, then scored 4 more runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-1 team. Each team scored 1 run in the fifth, then the Rays scored 3 more in the sixth inning to take an 8-2 lead. While the Yankees tacked on 2 runs in the bottom of the eighth, the Rays ultimately won Game 3, 8-4.

Game 4 was a home game for the Yankees — and their pitchers carried them to victory. The Rays only scored 1 run all time, and the 5 that the Yankees scored was more than enough to win them a secure 5-1 victory, and take the AL Divisional Series to a winner-take-all Game 5.

Game 5 was the best game of the entire series. With Tampa Bay technically being the home team, neither team scored in the first three innings. Then the Yankees struck first in the fourth inning, with an Aaron Judge solo home run. The Rays responded in the fifth inning, when Austin Meadows hit a solo home run off Gerrit Cole (who had been throwing a no hitter to that point). The score remained 1-1 until the eighth inning, when Rays’ player Mike Brosseau hit a solo home run off Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees couldn’t respond in the ninth, giving the Rays the AL Divisional Series victory and sending them to the ALCS.

Yankees vs. Rays 2024 Rivalry Analysis

The ongoing rivalry between the Rays and Yankees appears to be in a good place, leading into 2024. Both teams should both be contenders to win the AL East, and each team has a roster that is solid enough to compete for (and win) a World Series. Of course, if one of these teams is to make it that far, they’ll need to get past the other team first.

Grant Young
Posted in MLB