MLB Odds: Sizzling southpaws in Tampa
By: Jimmy Sirody
Sunday, September 12, 2010
New York southpaw CC Sabathia is 17-4 with five days between starts.
The New York Yankees
' universe has a storm brewing. The defending champs have lost five of their last six and the bullpen is running on empty as they head to Tropicana Field on Monday to open a critical three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays
Both the Rays and the Yankees are going to be playing in the postseason, barring an apocalypse. New York has led the American League East for most of the season, but its cushion shrank to one-half game over Tampa Bay after Mariano Rivera blew a rare save Saturday night at Texas.
Maybe that was the apocalypse. The Yankees had won 76 straight when leading after eight innings prior to that incident.
The Rays have apparently found the hitting shoes they had misplaced for most of the season. They had scored 61 runs, hit 17 homers and batted around seven times in their last eight games prior to Sunday's series finale at Toronto.
That's a marked improvement for a team that is 23rd in the majors in batting average and 25th in hits.
David Price (17-6, 2.87) hopes Tampa Bay's bats stay hot when he takes the mound Monday night in the series opener to match pitches with New York ace C.C. Sabathia in a battle of Cy Young Award contenders.
Price has sizzled in St. Pete, winning 16 of 21 decisions with a 2.48 ERA in 21 career appearances at home.
Tampa Bay has won nine of its last 11 with the lefty on the bump in a series opener. The Rays are a sizzling 17-4 in Price's last 21 outings against a division foe.
Sabathia is Superman at Yankee Stadium, but a mere mortal on the road. The big southpaw is 8-5 with a 3.75 ERA on the highway this season, while opponents have collected 107 hits, including 10 homers, in 103 1/3 innings pitched.
Sabathia is getting an extra day of rest after struggling in his last start versus Baltimore in the Bronx. He is 17-4 with five days between outings and 18-4 in series openers.
Price faced the Yankees on April 9 at the Trop in the first series between these division foes on April 9 and surrendered three runs in 7 2/3 innings while whiffing seven en route to a 9-3 win. New York gained revenge on July 18 in the Bronx, tagging Price for seven runs in five innings.
Sabathia has two previous starts this season in St. Pete. He allowed three earned runs in 13 2/3 innings while splitting the decisions. He has won eight of 12 career decisions against the Rays with a 3.08 ERA.
The Yankees have won nine of their last 12 on the road against southpaws while Tampa Bay is 16-5 versus lefties at home lately.
The Rays have won eight of their last nine Monday meetings, while New York has come up short in 10 of its past 13 series lid-lifters.
These bitter division rivals have split the first dozen meetings of 2010. They will renew warfare at Yankee Stadium from Sept. 20-23.
The ‘over' has cashed in 10 of the last 12 skirmishes, including five times in seven games at the Trop.
Tampa Bay had zipped ‘over' in seven straight games prior to Sunday, but it has strayed ‘under' in five of its last six at home. New York has jumped the number at a 7-3-1 clip in its last 11 chances against southpaws.