NEW YORK -- Jaime Garcia will be looking to prove Wednesday afternoon that he deserves to pitch more than once every two weeks for the New York Yankees.
Chris Archer will be hoping to confirm once again, to himself as well as the Tampa Bay Rays, that he is physically fine after an injury scare earlier this month.
A pair of pitchers in need of a win and/or some positive reinforcement will square off Wednesday when the Rays "host" the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series at Citi Field. The series was relocated to the usual home of the New York Mets due to the effects of Hurricane Irma along Florida's Gulf Coast.
The Rays earned a 2-1 win Tuesday when Adeiny Hechavarria hit a tiebreaking homer in the bottom of the eighth.
With the win, Tampa Bay (72-74) remained four games behind the Twins in the race for the American League's second wild card. The Yankees (78-66) saw their lead over Minnesota for the first wild card fall to three games. New York is four games back of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
The Rays usually would be reassured by the presence of their ace Archer (9-9, 4.00 ERA) on the mound. However, Archer lost his second straight start last Friday, when he gave up eight runs (six earned) over three innings as Tampa Bay fell 9-3 to the Red Sox.
The start was the second shortest of the year for Archer, who exited with a tight right forearm in his previous outing Sept. 2 after giving up two homers without recording an out. An MRI showed no damage, and Archer said following his Friday start that he had no physical issues.
"I felt fine, that's the only positive I can take from (the start) is that I felt good and my stuff was good," Archer said. "But I have to execute better."
The back-to-back rough outings have raised Archer's ERA from 3.66 to a season-high 4.00.
Archer is 6-6 with a 2.82 ERA in 16 career starts against the Yankees.
Garcia (5-9, 4.43 ERA between the Yankees, Twins and Atlanta Braves) last pitched on Aug. 30, when he allowed two runs (one earned) over five innings as New York fell to the Cleveland Indians 2-1. He had his most recent turn skipped as the Yankees reverted back to a standard five-man rotation.
In an attempt to stay sharp, Garcia threw a four-inning simulated game last Friday prior to the Yankees' game against the Texas Rangers.
"I'm not going to lie to you and say it's ideal not getting (to pitch) in a while, but at this point of my career, I've learned I can adapt to anything," Garcia said. "I'm healthy, I'm strong, I'm always staying positive, I'm always coming in every day to do my work and be ready for whatever they need me to do."
Garcia is looking for his first win as a member of the Yankees, who acquired him from the Twins on July 29. He is 0-2 with a 5.11 ERA for the Yankees and has yet to complete six innings in any of his five starts.
Garcia has never faced the Rays.