The Yankees and Rays meet for four games in the Bronx Thursday-Sunday highlighted by Old Timers Day in Game 4.  Tampa Bay comes off losing three of four to Boston.  New York comes off a series split with the Dodgers.  Here is a Rays-Yanks series preview.

The Yankee offense is still stumbling around.  The team, after a Game 2 doubleheader loss to the Dodgers 6-0, has now been shut out six times this season.

Player to watch:  Andy Pettitte and Ichiro Suzuki.  The Yanks need Pettitte now more than ever in what should be his final season in pinstripes.  With the unknown of Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova trying to figure things out in Scranton and CC Sabathia not the ace of old, the Yanks desperately need the veteran lefty to put together a string of solid starts to give the team a chance to win.  Ichiro has his average up to .270 thanks to 10 hits, a home run and three RBI in the last 10 games.  Ichiro has been getting on base more and causing havoc while there, with four stolen bases and four walks in the last 10 contests.  Joe Girardi is so confident in the future Hall of Famer that he will place Ichiro anywhere in the lineup 1-9.

Pitching match-ups:  Thursday:  Matt Moore (8-3, 4.12 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (5-4, 3.95 ERA).  Friday:  Roberto Hernandez (4-7, 5.02 ERA) vs. David Phelps (4-4, 4.08 ERA).  Saturday:  CC Sabathia (7-5, 3.93 ERA) vs. Alex Colome (1-0, 0.00 ERA).  Sunday:  TBD (NYY) vs.  Chris Archer (1-3, 5.02 ERA).

Prediction:  Series split.  Tampa Bay is rounding into form a little better offensively but that is still a weak lineup and the Rays pitching depth isn't what it was five years ago.  It will help when ace David Price returns.  The Yanks, meantime, should be able to get two wins in this series because of the pitching match-ups.  If these games were in Tampa Bay, where the Yanks struggle, it would be a prediction of Rays winning three of four.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter at

More From 104.5 THE TEAM