Yankees at Rays Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/25/2013
The most valuable pitcher on the Tampa Bay Rays is an easy choice, right? Certainly it's 27-year-old David Price, the reigning American League Cy Young winner. That would be absolutely incorrect, and it's not even close: It's Matt Moore.
Because he pitches in the relative obscurity of St. Petersburg, Fla., you don't hear Moore mentioned too often among the top young pitchers in the game with Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Harvey, Shelby Miller, etc. If you held a major-league draft right now, I'm not sure Moore wouldn't go ahead of all those guys.
Kershaw is obviously a superstar and soon will be the first $200 million pitcher. He's only about 14 months older than Moore, who will be 24 on June 18. But Kershaw is going to get his tens of millions of dollars a year. The Rays are considered perhaps the smartest franchise in baseball, and they showed it December, 2011. Moore had pitched just 9.1 innings as a late-season call-up that season, but the Rays saw enough then and in the minors to sign Moore to a five-year deal worth a guaranteed $14 million. The team also included three club option years that could increase the overall contract to $40 million. It bought out two potential free-agent years for Moore. Price, meanwhile, has struggled this season in a big way and is on the disabled list. He's only under team control through the 2015 season and is making $10 million this season.
Moore looks to continue his historic pace on Saturday against the Yankees in Game 2 of the AL East rivals' series.
Yankees at Rays Betting Story Lines
When you hear a guy compared to Babe Ruth, you presume it's for hitting. Remember, though, that Ruth was a terrific pitcher for the Red Sox before becoming the Sultan of Swat. Moore is 8-0 this season; the Rays actually have won nine straight Moore starts (one no-decision), a franchise record. He's the youngest lefty since Ruth to start a season 8-0. Surprisingly to me, only 40 pitchers have started 9-0 since 1916. Just 12 in that span have started 10-0. The modern record is 17-0 by the Pirates' Elroy Face in 1959. The AL mark is 15-0 by Dave McNally of the Orioles (1969) and Johnny Allen of the Indians (1937).
Moore did face the Yankees on April 22 at Tropicana Field, holding them to a run and two hits in eight innings while striking out nine. He his 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 29.1 career innings against New York. Robinson Cano has had some success off Moore, hitting .444 with a homer and two RBI in nine at-bats. Vernon Wells, meanwhile, has struck out five times in nine at-bats.
The Yankees start 25-year-old left-hander Vidal Nuno (1-1, 1.13), who is only in the rotation because of injuries to Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte and is the first big-leaguer ever named Vidal. Nuno has made one start, and it was a good one, holding the Indians scoreless in five innings. Nuno pitched in relief Tuesday in Baltimore and gave up the winning homer in the bottom of the 10th to leadoff hitter Nate McLouth. New York had won all 19 games this season before that one when scoring first (longest streak to start a season since 1992). Nuno has never faced the Rays or a Tampa Bay hitter. It's technically CC Sabathia's turn in the rotation, but he has been struggling, so the Yankees are giving him an extra day between turns, with Sabathia scheduled to start Sunday's series finale.
The Rays took two of three at home against the Yankees from April 22-24. Tropicana Field has been a house of horrors for New York, which has lost 13 of its past 16 there entering Friday's opener. Ryan Roberts hurt the Yankees in the first series, going 4-for-12 with two homers and two RBI. Evan Longoria was 2-for-11 but had a homer. He's been great in May, hitting .388 with three homers and 15 RBI entering the series. Cano hit .333 with a homer in the first series for New York. Wells was 1-for-8 with four strikeouts. He was off to a great start but is starting to come back to earth with four hits in his past 21 at-bats and just one RBI.
Yankees at Rays MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Rays opened at -180 and the Yankees at +170 with the total at 8. All trends entering Friday: New York is 18-23-5 “over/under” (8-11-3 on road) and 26-20 on runline. Tampa Bay is 26-15-5 O/U (14-7-1 at home) and 25-21 on the runline.
The Yankees are 5-0 in their past five Saturday games. They are 7-1 in their past eight against a lefty starter. The Rays are 4-1 in their past five Saturday games. They are 8-2 in Moore's past 10 home starts against teams with a winning record. Tampa Bay is 2-5 in its past seven against a lefty starter. The under is 8-0-1 in New York's past nine against a southpaw starter. The under is 10-2-2 in New York's past 14 road games. The over is 4-0 in Tampa Bay's past four Saturday games. The over is 4-1 in Moore's past five starts. The under is 4-1-2 in the past seven meetings in Tampa Bay.
Yankees at Rays Picks and Betting Predictions
As good as Moore is, he does tend to give up the long ball, allowing seven homers so far this season. I could see Cano perhaps touching him up. And I do think the Yankees benefit from the fact that the Rays have never seen Nuno. Still, it's hard to ignore Moore's winning streak. Take the Rays and the under, but the Yanks on the runline at -125.
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