The Yankees and Rays rivalry has escalated over the past few seasons, becoming a battle of throwing at hitters. Now the two division rivals are set to face off in the playoffs with a trip to the ALCS on the line.
On Friday ahead of the ALDS matchup scheduled to start on Monday, Oct. 5, Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was straight to the point when talking about his feelings towards the Yankees.
"They don't like us, we don't like them, and it's going to continue to stay that way,'' Kiermaier said.
This heated rivalry between the two teams started on Sept. 27, 2018 after a back-and-forth of hitting batters, when CC Sabathia was ejected for throwing at Jesus Sucre. Sabathia was furious, and let the Rays' dugout know it by yelling directly at them.
Fast forward to 2020, and the Rays dominated the Yankees during the 60-game regular season, going 8-2 against their division rivals. Tampa Bay earned the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs after a 40-20 season, and won the AL East for just the third time in franchise history by seven games over the Yanks.
On Sept. 1, Aroldis Chapman continued to break the unwritten rules by throwing a 101-mph fastball overtop Mark Brosseau's head. This caused a scuffle on the field, and resulted in Chapman being suspended three games. In addition, Rays' manager Kevin Cash and Yankees' Aaron Boone were both suspended one game.
The last time these teams faced off was on Sept. 2 at Yankee Stadium, while the ALDS will be played at a neutral-site at Petco Park in San Diego, preventing any home field advantage for either team.