TAMPA BAY RAYS (85-67)
at NEW YORK YANKEES (92-60)
First pitch: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. EDT
Line: New York -170, Tampa Bay +160, Total: 9
New York and Tampa Bay begin a crucial series Tuesday night with the Rays inching closer in the Wild Card standings and New York trying to hold off Tampa and Boston for the division title. The Yanks and Rays will play seven out of their final 10 games against each other, which gives Tampa a shot at the division, entering Tuesday seven games back of the Yankees.
Wade Davis will get the ball for the Rays on Tuesday night. Davis is 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his past three starts against the Yankees, but has not yet faced them in 2011. On the hill for the Bronx Bombers will be Ivan Nova who is scorching hot. Nova is 11-0 with a 3.35 ERA in his past 14 starts. Tampa Bay has the fourth-best road record in the league this year (43-34), and is 21-11 in away games versus AL East teams. Despite the Yankees impressive 92-60 overall record, they are just 51-48 (-15.2 Units) in night games. Expect motivated TAMPA BAY to put an end to Nova’s unbeaten streak with an all-important road victory at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
Some more highly-rated FoxSheets trends backing the Rays include:
TAMPA BAY is 33-14 (70.2%, +19.3 Units) against the money line after batting .240 or worse over a 20 game span this season. The average score was TAMPA BAY 5.2, OPPONENT 3.5 - (Rating = 3*).
TAMPA BAY is 23-9 (71.9%, +15.0 Units) against the money line with an on-base percentage of .310 or worse over their last 20 games this season. The average score was TAMPA BAY 5.6, OPPONENT 3.7 - (Rating = 2*).
The Rays have won 11 of 15 and find themselves only two back in the Wild Card behind Boston after winning three of four from the Red Sox over the weekend. Davis (10-9, 4.41 ERA) started two games at Yankee Stadium last year and recorded an impressive 2.25 ERA. The right-hander is coming off a so-so effort on Wednesday when he threw 6.1 innings and allowed four runs and seven hits in a 6-2 loss to Baltimore. He has been subpar on the road this season, carrying a 5.40 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and .294 opponents’ BA.
The Yankees have been nearly unbeatable as a favorite of -150 to -175 this season, sporting a 20-5 record in this scenario. Nova (15-4, 3.81 ERA) has faced the Rays only three times in his career. He allowed six runs in 4.2 innings last year, but six days later he gave up just 2 ER in 5.2 innings against Tampa Bay. He also faced the Rays on May 17 of this year, limiting them to one run in 5.1 innings. Nova is coming off another great pitching performance on Wednesday, when he threw 7.1 frames and allowed just one run on five hits, but was given a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to Seattle. The Yankees will face Boston right after their series with the Rays, which makes this series with Tampa that much more important.