Tampa Bay Rays Visit New York Yankees
By: Dave Consolazio
Monday, September 19, 2011
The Tampa Bay Rays hope to continue to close the gap in the AL Wild Card race Tuesday night when they head to the Bronx York to play the first game of a four-game series against the New York Yankees.
Tuesday’s matchup is set to start at 7:05 p.m. (ET) at Yankee Stadium with right-handers Wade Davis and Ivan Nova on the mound.
With the Boston Red Sox losing eight of their last 10, the Yankees and the Rays have benefited. Entering Monday’s action, New York held a 4.5-game lead over Boston in the AL East, and Tampa Bay had closed the Wild Card gap to just two games. This series is critical for both teams as Tampa Bay fights for a spot in the postseason and New York hopes to lock up the division.
Tampa Bay (85-67) has given Boston fans reason to worry, going 11-4 (+6.20 units) over the last 15 games, including a 6-1 record (+5.95 units) in seven games against the Red Sox. If the Rays can stay hot, they could pull a shocker and knock Boston out of playoff contention.
Davis (10-9, 4.41 ERA) has been the beneficiary of solid run support of late. Despite giving up three or more runs in six of his last nine starts, Tampa Bay is 7-2 (+4.80 units) over that stretch.
This will be Davis’s first start against the Yankees this season. In five career starts against them, he is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA.
New York (91-60) hasn’t been playing particularly well of late, losing three of their last four (-3.95 units) and six of their last 10 (-6.85 units). But with Boston playing worse and a nice cushion in the AL East, the Yankees are still in the driver’s seat to hold on to the division down the stretch.
Nova (15-4, 3.81 ERA) has been a major bright spot for the Yankees this season. He has given up two runs or less in eight of his last 14 starts, and the Yankees are 12-2 (+8.40 units) over those games. New York has lost Nova’s last two trips to the mound, but he didn’t pitch poorly in either of them.
Nova pitched well in his one start against Tampa Bay this season, giving up one run in 5 1/3 innings to earn the win over James Shields on May 17. He fared much worse in his two starts against the Rays in 2010, in which he had two no decisions and a 6.97 ERA.
The season series between these AL East rivals has been pretty evenly matched, with New York holding the slight 6-5 edge. Despite the powerful offenses of these teams, the total has trended ‘under’ at 7-4.
Tampa Bay has been a good betting option away from home, going 43-34 (+10.60 units). New York has played well at home, but are only slightly profitable at 46-37 (+1.65 units).
Ben Zobrist (personal) will be out Tuesday, but should return to the lineup for Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Tuesday night’s weather is expected to be slightly cloudy with winds of up to 10 mph.