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Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier tries to fan flames of so-called rivalry with Yankees ahead of postseason series

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Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier tried to conjure up some sort of rivalry with the New York Yankees on Friday as he prepared for the upcoming series against the Bronx Bombers.

Kiermaier was blunt when asked about the American League Divisional Series matchup against the Yankees, which is set to begin Monday.

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“With all the history we have had the last couple of years, it is what it is, I have said many times they don’t like us and we don’t like them,” the outfielder told reporters, according to the New York Post.

“It is going to continue to stay that way and it is going to be a very fun and energetic [series] and I know each team is going to try and put it to the opposition. I know that for a fact. It’s going to be two great teams playing against each other. I know our guys are real excited and ready to go and we plan to have the same thoughts when we get out West. Once again, we have forgot what went on, but moving forward we have to do everything in our power to be focused in order to win and that is what we plan on doing.”

He was asked about the Yankees having a higher profile than the Rays.

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“We know we can play with anyone. We know we can beat anyone. They are a big market team, everyone knows the Yankees, huge payroll. We are here trying to play our game. We don’t get a whole lot of recognition but at the end of the day we win ballgames,” he said.

“We know we are darn good at that. We don’t plan on changing anything as far as that. We plan on racking up the ‘Ws.’ We got 11 more and that is what we plan on doing.”

The two teams have gotten into a few tiffs over the last few seasons, incluing Aroldis Chapman buzzed a Rays batter at the end of one of their September matchups. But other than that, Yankees fans might be wondering whether there is actually a rivalry between the two teams.

Since the Rays entered the league in 1998, they have won only one pennant and three division titles. It’s only been nine times where Tampa Bay has even finished above .500.

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The Yankees won the World Series in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 along with 13 division titles.

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