New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays Preview and Pick

New York Yankees (19-19) -120, o/u 9 at Tampa Bay Rays (21-16), 7:10 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of

The Tampa Bay Rays, off to the best start in franchise history, look to extend a couple of winning streaks when they host the New York Yankees for the opener of a four-game series Monday night at Tropicana Field.

Baseball Bookies are listing New York and starting pitcher Andy Pettitte as -120 road favorites for Monday’s game, with a total of 9, while the Rays and Matt Garza are getting +105 as home underdogs.

Tampa Bay just swept three games from the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend to extend their winning streak to four and a home success streak to nine games. Meanwhile, the Yanks just split two games of a weather-shortened series in Detroit over the weekend.

So going into this week’s action, the Rays sit in second place in the AL East, just a game and a half back of the division-leading Boston Red Sox, while New York is tied for third in the East, four games behind Boston.


The Yankees have taken four of six games from Tampa so far this season, while the totals have gone 2-4, with the six games averaging 9.7 total runs per. Last year, New York took the season series from the Rays 10 games to eight, while the o/u went 12-4-2, as the games, thanks to a couple of serious scoring outbursts, averaged a healthy 13.4 RPG.

This year, the Yanks are 10-10 on the road, 14-13 as favorites and 17-20 vs. the run line. On the other side of this match-up, Tampa is 13-7 at home this season, 12-10 as dogs and 23-14 vs. the run line.

Pettitte (3-3, 3.77, 1.35 WHIP this season) is slated to take the hill Monday after getting his start rained out Sunday in Detroit. Over his most recent three starts, which includes a good outing in a 5-3 loss to Cleveland last Tuesday, the veteran left-hander has given up 11 ER and 25 baserunners (hits + walks) in 17 1/3 IP. New York is 3-4 in Pettitte’s starts this year, the o/u a perfect 0-7.

Pettitte has already started twice vs. the Rays this year, and he made four starts vs. the Rays last season. Over those six outings, Pettitte has allowed 19 ER and 62 BR in 34 innings of work. The Yanks are 3-3 in those six games, as is the o/u.

Garza (1-1, 4.91, 1.52), over his last three starts, which includes a decent performance in a 6-2 loss at Toronto last Wednesday, has limited foes to six ER and 22 BR in 17 2/3 IP. Tampa is 2-3 in Garza’s starts this year, as is the o/u.

Garza has not started a game vs. New York since 2006.

On the offensive side of things, the Yankees rank 11th in the majors in team batting at .264, 11th in team OBP at .332, 9th in team slugging at .421, and are averaging 4.4 RPG.

The Rays rank 18th in batting at .255, 15th in OBP at .326, 17th in slugging at .393 and are averaging 4.6 RPG.

New York is still without catcher Jorge Posada and 3B Alex Rodriguez, who are both on the DL with various ailments.

Over their last five games, the Yankees bullpen has been very good, allowing just three ER and 15 BR in 16 2/3 IP. On the other side of the field, the Tampa pen has allowed eight ER and 22 BR in its last five games, covering 16 1/3 innings of mound-work.

The o/u is a lopsided 11-25 in New York games this season, which are averaging 8.7 total runs per, while the totals are 16-21 in Rays games, which are averaging 8.8 runs. Also, the o/u is 6-14 in games played at Tropicana Field this season, which are averaging just 7.7 total runs per, after averaging 9.9 runs last season.

Zman’s Pick: I like the Rays to beat the Yanks tonight.