TAMPA BAY RAYS (77-66)
at NEW YORK YANKEES (81-62)
First pitch: Friday, 7:05 p.m. EDT
Line: New York -120, Tampa Bay +110, Total: 8
Two of baseballís premier southpaws will duel when the Yankees and Rays begin a three-game set as they battle for position within the AL East.
The Rays enter this series needing to bounce back from a sweep against the Orioles, who sit atop the division alongside the Yankees, four games ahead of Tampa Bay. The Rays offense was anemic in the series, scoring just two runs in each game, but if there is one guy who can win with that run support itís David Price. Price has a 17-5 record in 2012, with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. And he faces fellow lefty CC Sabathia, who is 13-5 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.20 WHIP this year. He has struggled lately, however, with an 0-2 record, 4.43 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in his past three starts, allowing five home runs in those games. The Rays have also been hot against the Yankees lately, winning five of their past seven contests while accumulating a 9-6 record against the Pinstripes in 2012. As underdogs, take Price and TAMPA BAY in this one.
This three-star FoxSheets trend also favors the Rays:
Play On - All underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150 (TAMPA BAY) - with a good bullpen that converts on 75%+ of their save opportunities, in September games. (118-80 over the last 5 seasons.) (59.6%, +56.1 units. Rating = 3*).
Price has already started against the Yankees four times this season, with a 2-1 record and 3.20 ERA. Overall in his career he is 6-3 (team 10-6) in 16 career starts against New York, with a 3.87 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. His last start was skipped because of precautionary shoulder soreness, but even if he has to be pulled early, he is supported by an elite bullpen. Tampa Bay relievers have a 2.86 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 44 saves in 52 chances in 2012. But that tends not to be a problem for Price, who averages 6.7 innings per start.
Sabathia has been pretty strong against the Rays in his career with a 3.12 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 28 starts. This includes three quality starts in three outings against them in 2012, where Sabathia has a 2.05 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 26 Kís in 22 innings. The Yankees closed out their series against the Red Sox with a 2-0 victory on Thursday, giving them three wins in their past four games. And as they look to prevent Price from becoming the ALís first 18-game winner, they will hope to repeat their performances against southpaws from this year against whom they are 32-22 (.593), averaging 5.4 runs per start. They will still miss Mark Teixeira in the lineup, though, which could make the matchup against Price tough.