New York nearly got swept at home by Toronto over the weekend. Can the Yankees and CC Sabathia be trusted for a play when they open a three-game series at Tampa Monday night?
Yanks-Rays Monday Odds
In the early MLB odds market the best price we could find on New York with CC Sabathia was the -104 at Pinnacle, while Tampa and Erasmo Ramirez were giving -105 at 5Dimes. Also, BetOnline was chalking the Rays at -135 to win this series, with the Yankees getting +115.
New York just lost three of four games at home to Toronto over the weekend, avoiding the sweep and snapping a five-game losing streak with a 5-0 victory Sunday. So the Yankees have lost two series in a row.
At 78-64 New York now trails the division-leading Blue Jays by 3.5 games in the AL East race, but still leads the AL wild-card race by three games over Texas and four games over Minnesota.
Tampa, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games at home to Boston over the weekend, losing Sunday's rubber match 2-0 in 13 innings. So the Rays have lost three series in a row, and seven of their last 10 games.
At 69-73 Tampa trails the Rangers by six games in the battle for the second AL wild-card spot.
The Yankees lead this season series 10 games to six, with the UNDERS going 9-6-1.
Monday's Mound Match-Up
Ramirez (10-5, 3.96), by our strict standards, is just six-for-23 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last five. Last Tuesday he gave up four runs in five innings against Detroit, and over his last five starts he's allowed 16 earned runs through 26 innings. For the season, though, Ramirez has given up fewer hits, 121, than innings pitched, 136, walked 37 and struck out 107.
Tampa is 14-9 in games Ramirez has started, with the UNDERS going 11-10.
In two starts this season against New York Ramirez has allowed just one ER and four hits through 11 innings; the Rays won both those games.
Sabathia (4-9, 5.16) is just eight-for-25 on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last three. Last Wednesday, in his first start off the DL, he gave up three runs – one earned – through just 4 2/3 innings against Baltimore, and over his last three starts he's allowed seven ER through 14 innings. On the season CC has allowed 168 hits, including 26 homers, through 143 innings, walked 40 and struck out 118.
The Yankees are 11-14 in Sabathia's starts, with the OVERS going 13-12.
In one start this season against Tampa Sabby gave up four runs – three earned – and six hits, including two homers, through seven innings of an 11-5 New York victory back in May.
Monday's Batting Splits
New York ranks 15th in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .317 team on-base percentage, but fifth with a .425 team slugging percentage. However, the Yanks are without Mark Teixeira for the rest of this season.
Tampa, on the other hand, ranks ninth against left-handed pitching with a .326 team OBP and fourth with a .434 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at the Trop this season are 35-27 on the OVERS, even though they're averaging just 7.6 runs per, fifth-fewest among all ML ballparks. Obviously oddsmakers have been posting some low totals on Rays home games.
Yanks-Rays Free Picks
We'll give Ramirez a short edge in the pitching match-up, and Tampa a short edge with the sticks. So we like the Rays for tonight with our MLB pick for Monday. Also, we can see this game getting to 4-4, so we're thinking OVER.