Will these two teams continue on with their recent forms? Or can New York reverse course, at least for a day and where are we going with our money on today's contest?
Sunday's Betting Odds
Most books we consulted Sunday morning opened this game with Tampa and Matt Moore favored by around -140 over New York and Phil Hughes, with the total at eight. Many books then bumped the Rays to -150 in the early betting.
Tampa could also be bet at around +110 giving the run and a half on the run line.
Rays-Yanks Sunday Set-Up
Tampa has taken the first two games of this series, pounding out a dozen hits, half of them for extra bases, in winning 10-6 Friday, then getting a complete-game two hitter from Chris Archer for a 1-0 victory Saturday.
So, on their current road trip the Rays swept three games in Toronto, took two of three in Boston and have already won this series.
Heading into Sunday Tampa, a winner in 21 of its last 24 games, now leads the AL East by a half-game over the second-place Red Sox, and by eight games over the fourth-place Yankees, who have lost eight of their last 11.
New York has now gone nine straight games without a home run.
Tampa leads this season series seven games to five, with the totals going 5-6-1.
Sunday's Pitching Match-Up
Hughes (4-9, 4.33) is 9-for-19 on quality starts this season, and is coming off a decent outing in which he held Texas to three unearned runs in 5 2/3 innings of a game the Yanks rallied to win 5-4. And over his last five starts he's allowed nine ER in 32 innings.
For the season Hughes has given up 110 hits in 108 innings, walked 29 and whiffed 89. But the 18 homers allowed have caused some problems.
New York is only 7-12 in Hughes' starts this season, but some of that can be attributed to some poor run support.
In his only start this year vs. the Rays Hughes gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings of a 4-3 Yanks victory back in April.
Moore (14-3, 3.17), meanwhile, by our strict standards, is 11-for-20 on quality starts this year, and working on a string of five in a row. Last time out Moore was marvelous, throwing a two-hit shut-out against Boston. And over his last five starts he's permitted just four ER and 16 hits in 35 2/3 innings.
On the season Moore has allowed just 85 hits in 116 1/3 innings, walked 56, which is a bit too much, and struck out 112.
Tampa is a nifty 16-4 in Moore's starts this season, and has won his last six outings.
Moore has already started three times against the Yankees this year, holding them to five ER and 11 hits through 20 1/3 innings; the Rays won two of those three games.
Rays-Yanks Betting Trends
The totals have leaned toward the UNDERS by a 28-22 margin in Yankees home games this year.
Tampa is 37-14 in its last 51 games as a favorite, and 38-18 in its last 56 games overall.
New York is 43-16 in its last 59 games after losing the first two games of a series. That stat must stretch back quite a ways.
But the Yanks are also 0-6 in Hughes' last six starts at home.
Rays-Yanks Injury Update
New York is still playing without Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira and Granderson, and now Travis Hafner is on the DL with a sore shoulder. There's a possibility Jeter could be in the lineup today, but the last time he came off the DL he got hurt in his first game back.
Our Take on Sunday's Game
The Rays are hot-hot, the Yankees are not, and Moore gets the clear edge in the pitching match-up. So we like Tampa for Sunday's game. But we also like to gamble a little, so we'll go with the Rays on a run-line bet for our free MLB pick for Sunday.