MLB Betting Preview: Rays at NY Yankees

By: Jimmy Sirody | Tuesday, September 21, 2010
AJ Burnett

The Yanks are 1-8 in AJ Burnett’s last nine starts versus AL East clubs.

A few hours after Derek Jeter led the New York Yankees out towards Monument Park to help dedicate a monument to George Steinbrenner, the captain and his mates took a 1 ½-game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays—starting a four-game series that might decide the American League East title.

The Yankees might wish to pay homage to their late owner every time the Rays are in town.

It was the second time in just over two months that the Rays were at Yankee Stadium for a tribute to Steinbrenner. They were in the Bronx on July 16, the first game after Steinbrenner’s death. That night Nick Swisher hit a walk-off single to give the Yankees a 5-4 victory.

The third game of the series on Wednesday will serve as a warm-up act for the grand finale on Thursday. That’s when respective aces C.C. Sabathia and David Price look to reprise last week’s classic pitching duel that took place at Tropicana Field.

Wade Davis (12-9, 4.19), the Rays’ most effective pitcher of late other than Price, will oppose struggling A.J. Burnett for the second time this season.

Davis and Burnett squared off on May 19 in the Bronx and it was a total mismatch, the Rays winning, 10-6. Davis pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs and seven hits while fanning seven Yankees. Burnett  had plenty of hot water when he hit the showers early after allowing six runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 frames.

Davis is riding a seven-game winning streak and is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA against New York this season.

Burnett has really struggled since the All-Star break, toting a 5.61 ERA over his last dozen starts. He has won 12 of 18 career decisions against Tampa Bay, but in his last two starts he has been touched for 10 runs and 13 hits in 8 2/3 innings by the Rays.

Tampa Bay is 5-1 in Davis’ last six road starts and 8-3 in his past 11 outings overall. Conversely, the Yankees are 2-6 in Burnett’s last eight home appearances and 2-7 in his last nine starts overall. The defending champs are 1-8 in the right-hander’s last nine starts versus division foes and 0-8 when he faces teams on the plus side of the ledger.

Prior to Tuesday the Yanks and Rays had topped the MLB odds ‘total’ in the last six meetings in New York and in 12 of 16 series showdowns overall.

Tampa Bay has ended on the high side at a 12-3-1 clip on the road and New York has jumped the number at a 13-3-2 clip versus winning teams.

The Yankees have strayed ‘under’ in seven of their last 10 division tests, but zoomed ‘over’ in Burnett’s last six starts against the Rays.

Adrian Johnson will be calling the balls and strikes. The ‘under’ has cashed in eight of his last 11 Wednesday assignments behind the dish.

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