New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Which team has the ALDS edge?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 01: New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays exchanges words after the final out in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 01, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 01: New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays exchanges words after the final out in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium on September 01, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Bad blood and bragging rights will fuel the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS. Which team will come out on top?

Here we go. AL East champion against AL East runner-up. Minuscule payroll against mammoth payroll. Modified team name against an iconic team name. Bare history against illustrious history. The countless juxtapositions between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees outline a fascinating can’t-miss ALDS matchup that is sure to reach a deciding Game 5.

But which team will win the deciding game?

More from Call to the Pen

Before divulging potential “leg up” statistics, let’s devote a little more time to hyping the upcoming series.

Remember when Aroldis Chapman catapulted a 101 mph fastball at the head of Rays’ Mike Brosseau last month? Thankfully the pitch missed Brosseau, but that didn’t prevent tempers from flaring and benches from clearing.

Having perhaps the most powerful and intimidating arm in the game, Chapman should not be heaving fastballs towards any body part with any intent. We know how the Tampa Bay Rays feel about that pitch. It certainly remains top of mind throughout their clubhouse and stands firmly as bulletin board material.

The Yankees likely aren’t taking the rival ALDS matchup as personally as the Rays. They want to conquer the Rays because they’re the next team in the way of a championship. If defeating them also proves the Yankees are the better team in the AL East, then so be it.

The Rays, owners of the best regular-season record in the American League, are a serious force. While the Yankees stumbled into the playoffs and still emerge as the betting favorite to win the AL pennant, the Rays earned the top seed and then maintained their status quo by picking apart the Toronto Blue Jays in route to a series sweep in the Wildcard round.