Take Yankees with Sabathia as Your MLB Pick at Tampa Bay

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, May 11, 2015 3:21 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.

 



One of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball has a good chance to win his first game of the season Monday nigh when southpaw C.C. Sabathia and those New York Yankees (20-12, 11-5 away) pay a visit to right-hander Alex Colome and the Tampa Bay Rays (17-15, 8-8 home) in the first game of a four-game series from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game available on YES.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has New York as the tiniest of road underdogs for this contest at current odds of +101.


Top Two Teams in AL East
The current standings in the American League East almost look upside down based on preseason expectations. Few people would have expected the Yankees to be leading the division at this stage, and yet here they are with a three-game lead at 20-12 after taking three out of four games from the Baltimore Orioles this past weekend.

And the Rays are in second place at 17-15 despite being the longest shot on the board to win the division at +700 odds right before the season, their first season without long-time manager Joe Maddon, who bolted for the Chicago Cubs. Tampa Bay is two games over .500 as MLB picks with its fine pitching staff that ranks third in the Major Leagues with a 3.36 team ERA making up for ranking 23rd in runs scored offensively with 3.78 per game for now.


Unlucky Sabathia
Now, Sabathia had his season shortened by knee surgery last year when he went 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in eight starts, snapping a streak where he had pitched at least 200 innings in five straight seasons, and on the surface he is off to another rough start this year at 0-5 with a 5.45 ERA. However, there have been quite a few positive signs for Sabathia and he has also been pitching in terrible luck.

For starters, C.C. has been involved in three one-run games in his six starts with two of them being losses and the other one being a no-decision in a game the Yankees won 3-2. New York is seventh in the Major Leagues in runs scored with 4.66 per game, and yet the Yanks have not supported Sabathia well giving him only 2.17 runs per game when he has pitched!

Also, Sabathia has good command numbers with 29 strikeouts vs. eight walks and he has hit over 90 MPH in his fastball much more often than he did while bothered by the knee early last season, an indication that his arm is fine. And the high ERA is being skewed by allowing an unlucky .345 BABIP, as his much more respectable 3.86 xFIP is a better indicator of how he has pitched.

Yet he is still seeking that elusive first victory, but that could possibly change vs. a punchless Tampa Bay lineup batting .234 vs. left-handed pitchers this season.


Colome Thrust into Rotation
The Rays are being carried by their pitching, but Colome has been just a small part of it as he has only made two starts while filling in several starters on the shelf. Granted he has allowed only two runs in 10 innings while working exactly five innings in each of those starts, but there is no reason to believe that kind of form will continue.

Colome has had control issues his entire career both at the Major League and minor league level so we think that his 10 strikeouts without a single walk in 10 innings so far has been smoke and mirrors. Colome has had an identical xFIP of just 4.87 each of the last two years for the Rays and he should regress back to that level soon enough, and also keep in mind that he has benefitted from yielding just a .250 BABIP this year, which does not figure to continue either.

Remember also that the Yankees have been a better hitting team on the road this year where they are averaging 4.81 runs per game, making them logical candidates against whom Colome may begin his descent back to the Planet Earth.


Both Teams Have Been Better on Road
In fact both of these teams have played better on the road than at home, so we are not so sure playing at Tropicana Field is all that beneficial to the Rays. The Yankees are a nice 11-5 on the road while the Rays are only officially 8-8 at home, but they are actually just 9-10 in this stadium as they lost two out of three here while serving as the “road” team vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

Given that road disparity and both pitchers due for regression considering the way they have pitched, take the New York Yankees on the road vs. Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg on Monday.

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MLB Pick: Yankees + 101