TAMPA — Though the 2021 season is a week old, the Yankees will get an unpleasant reminder about how last year ended when they visit the Rays on Friday for Tampa Bay’s home opener at Tropicana Field.
“They definitely got the best of us last year,’’ Brett Gardner said. “They were the better team. They beat us and moved on. There’s definitely a sour taste from that, and we’d like to get back on top, win the division and the American League and get to the World Series.”
First, they’ll have to watch Tampa Bay display its AL pennant.
“I hope this year we’ll take that crown from them,’’ Gardner said. “Seeing them raise the flag will bring back those memories and is a reminder that we need to get better.”
The ALDS ended when Aroldis Chapman allowed a game-winning homer to Mike Brosseau in Game 5.
It was the latest chapter in a contentious rivalry between the two teams, which intensified last season — mostly when Chapman threw a 100 mph fastball near…