MLB Odds: Rays at Yankees Series Predictions and Baseball Picks
by Darin Zank - 9/20/2011
The New York Yankees lead the American League's East Division as they close in on securing the top seed in the upcoming American League playoffs.
The surging Tampa Bay Rays are trying to track down the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild-Card race.
So there's a lot at stake as the Rays and Yanks meet for a key four-game series in the Bronx starting Tuesday night, which includes a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.
Rays at Yankees: Setting the Scene
Tampa just took three of four games from the Red Sox in Boston over the weekend, and has now won 11 of its last 15. So at 85-67 the Rays trail the Sox by two games in the Wild-Card standings with 10 games left on the Tampa Bay Rays schedule.
Tampa had Monday off.
New York, meanwhile, finished off a 4-6 road trip by dropping two of three games in Toronto over the weekend. They then came home and beat Minnesota Monday, 6-4, in a makeup game. So since a six-game winning streak earlier this month the Yanks have gone just 5-7. But the Pinstripes, at 92-60, lead the AL East by five games over second-place Boston, and they're 3.5 games up on Detroit in the fight for the best record in the American League.
The Yanks lead the season series with the Rays six games to five. And seven of the meetings in this series have played ‘under’ the totals, as the games have generally been low-scoring, averaging just 6.6 runs per contest.
Tuesday's Pitching Matchup
Wade Davis (10-9, 4.41) gets the start Tuesday (7:05 p.m. Eastern) for Tampa against Ivan Nova (15-4, 3.81) for New York.
Davis had won a couple starts in a row until last Wednesday, when he gave up four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in a loss at Baltimore. He hasn't pitched against the Yankees this season, but in four appearances vs. the Yanks last year he was fairly effective, allowing eight ERs in 21 IP. The Rays are 16-11 in Davis' starts this year.
Nova, meanwhile, is coming off a good performance vs. Seattle last Wednesday, allowing just one ER in 7 1/3 innings of work. So he's now on a run of five straight starts of allowing three ERs or less. He's started once vs. Tampa this year, giving up one ER in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-2 Yankees win back in May. New York is an impressive 18-7 in Nova's starts this season.
James Shields (15-11, 2.78) will start for the Rays in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader (1:05 p.m. Eastern) against CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.01) for the Yanks. Then in Game 2 (7:05 p.m. Eastern, ESPN) Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.91) will go for Tampa vs. Phil Hughes (5-5, 6.00) for New York.
In his last outing Shields gave up four ERs in seven innings in a loss at Boston. But in his four starts previous to that he'd allowed just three ERs in 34 innings. And he's been very effective vs. the Yanks this season, holding them to just four ERs in 23 innings.
Sabathia just got clipped for four ERs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a loss at Toronto. This was the fifth time in his last nine starts that he'd given up 10 hits. And he's been a bit wild lately, walking eight in his last two starts. In three starts this year vs. Tampa Sabathia has allowed seven ERs in 25 IP.
Hellickson got the win vs. Boston last Friday, allowing one ER in 5 1/3 innings. So that's six starts in a row of allowing three ERs or less. But the Yanks got him a month ago for four ERs on eight hits in less than five innings.
Hughes has had a rough year, but he's coming off two quality starts in a row, holding Baltimore and Seattle to three ERs over the course of 12 innings. Hughes has started once vs. the Rays this year, and he got the win, allowing two ERs on four hits in six innings.
Jeff Niemann (11-7, 3.95) is slated to start Thursday's series finale (7:05 p.m. Eastern) for Tampa against Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.81) for the Yankees.
Niemann had been getting bounced around a bit, but over his last two starts he's allowed four ERs over 12 2/3 innings. And his one start this year vs. New York was a good one, allowing just one ER in 7 1/3 innings of work.
Colon is coming off a bad outing, giving up six ERs in four innings in a loss to the Blue Jays Saturday. So he's allowed at least four ERs in four of his last six starts. In two starts vs. the Rays this year he's given up six ERs in 12 IP.
Rays at Yankees Betting Odds and Trends
Bodog is listing New York as a -170 favorite for Tuesday night's game, according to MLB odds, with an ‘over/under’ of nine. Series odds should be posted a little later today.
Tampa is 43-34 on the road this season.
New York is 47-27 at home this year.
The ‘over/unders’ are 62-81 in Rays games this season.
The ‘O/U’s are 67-72 in Yankees games this season.
The ‘O/U’s are 39-29 in games played at Yankee Stadium this season.
MLB Picks: Rays at Yankees Predictions
Tampa is on a push to make the playoffs, and with their starting pitching they've got to be considered dangerous. New York, meanwhile, seems to be treading water. And the Rays are likely to be underdogs in at least a couple of these games in New York, and for the series. So we'll recommend playing Tampa to win each game and the series as a whole.
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