Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees Preview and Pick – Price vs. Sabathia

Tampa Bay Rays (28-28) David Price +185, 9 O/U at New York
Yankees (32-22) CC Sabathia -200, 9 O/U, Yankee Stadium, Bronx,
N.Y., 7:05 PM EST, Friday

by Badger of Predictem.com

The best left-hander in baseball and the biggest left-handed phenom
just starting his career are set to duel Friday night in the Bronx,
when the New York Yankees send prized free-agent starter CC Sabathia
against the Tampa Bay Rays David Price in Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees enter the three-game series tied with Boston atop the
American League East standings at 32-22, the best record in the AL
thanks in part to winning their recent series with the Texas Rangers.

The Yankees came from behind in the series finale Thursday, down
5-1, but took an 8-6 victory when Melky Cabrera hit a two-run
homerun in the 8th. The win was the Yankees third in the last four
games and seventh in their last 10, so they are playing solid
baseball just in time for the big series with the Rays.

The Rays are still hovering around .500 for the season and are five
games back of the Yankees and Red Sox already, but they have been
playing well of late thanks to their three-game sweep of the Kansas
City Royals to finish a 5-1 homestand.

They won the finale against the Royals in dramatic fashion, when B.J.
Upton drilled a two-run homerun in the eighth to give the Rays a come-
from-behind 3-2 win. James Shields was the latest Rays pitcher to
throw a quality game last night, as the Rays rotation only gave up 12
runs during the homestand (Twins and Royals) with an average of 7.1
innings per start.

Oddsmakers have tagged the appropriate amount of juice to a Sabathia
start, opening the Yankees at -200 on the moneyline. Price and the
Rays are listed as an attractive +185 underdog at sportsbooks with a
dimeline. The over/under total in the bandbox Yankee Stadium is
currently listed at 9 at most offshore sportsbooks.

Sabathia, a notorious slow-starter, is starting to pick up the pace
of late. Hes still just 5-3 on the season and the Yankees are only
6-5 in his 11 starts, but he has thrown well in his last few starts
winning four of his last five decisions.

Sabathia went seven innings last time out in a 10-5 victory over
Cleveland, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks, but
that was his worst outing of late as he has a 2.86 ERA and a 0.95
WHIP if you add in the two games prior to his last one.

Price has only made two starts since his May call-up from Triple-A
Durham, but both of them were pretty good. His first outing he was a
little erratic (5 walks, 4 hits) and only lasted 3.1 innings, but his
last start (5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 R) was more like what the baseball
experts and Rays management hope to see throughout his career.

Both teams come into the series scoring runs too. The Yankees scored
22 runs in their four-game series with the Indians on the road (5.5 r/
g), then scored the same amount (22) in the first three games of
their homestand versus Texas for a hard-to-beat 7.3 runs per game

The Rays outscored the Royals 18-2 in the sweep in the Tropicana Dome
and are averaging exactly 5.0 runs per game during their last two
series. The Rays averaged 6 runs per game in a short two-game series
at Yankee Stadium back in the beginning of May, a series the Rays
swept by the way.

The over bet is a solid 8-3 in the last 11 games overall, and
everyone and their brother knows how Yankee Stadium has been playing
so far this season, with its .360 OBP, .844 OPS and 95 homeruns.

Badgers Pick: Price is good enough of a pitcher to win straight up
here, which makes the +185 underdog bet too valuable to pass up here.
Take the Rays at +185 and hope he outduels Sabathia.