Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees Preview and Pick – Scott Kazmir vs. Andy Pettitte

Tampa Bay Rays (55-33) +105, 8 at New York Yankees (47-42), 7 pm Eastern Tuesday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The surprising owners of the best record in Major League Baseball take their show to the Big Apple as the Tampa Bay Rays hook up with the New York Yankees for the opener of a quick two-game series Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

New York and starting pitcher Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.22) are listed as 115 home favorites for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 8 1/2, while Tampa and Scott Kazmir (7-3, 2.63) are getting +105 as road underdogs.

The Rays had a seven-game winning streak snapped by a 7-4 extra-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals Monday afternoon, and have won 17 of their last 22 games. The Yankees, meanwhile, beat the Red Sox in Boston Sunday night 5-4 to salvage a split of a four-game series.

So as this series begins, Tampa leads the American League East by four games over second-place Boston, and by 8 games over the third-place Yankees.

Tampa is 19-19 on the road this year, 17-17 as underdogs, and 48-40 vs. the run line.

New York is 25-22 at home this season, 39-31 as favorites, and a lousy 35-53 vs. the run line.

Over his last three starts, including a mediocre effort vs. the Red Sox last Wednesday, Kazmir has given up 10 ER and 24 baserunners (hits + walks) in 15 2/3 IP. Tampa is 9-3, in Kazmir’s starts this year, the totals 5-7.

Over his last three starts, including a bad outing vs. Boston last Thursday, Pettitte has allowed seven ER and 26 BR in 16 2/3 IP. The Yanks are 10-8 in Pettitte’s starts this year, the totals a one-sided 4-14.

As of late Tuesday morning, many sportsbooks had not lined this game, because some outlets listed Sidney Ponson as New York’s starting pitcher.

Last year, the Yanks took 10 of 18 games from the Rays, while the totals went a lop-sided 12-4-2, as the games averaged a robust 13.4 total runs per.

Offensively speaking, Tampa is ranked 8th in the majors in team batting at .266, 5th in team OBP at .342, 11th in team slugging at .421, and is averaging 4.8 runs per game.

New York ranks 7th in batting at .269, 6th in OBP at .341, 12th in slugging at .418, and is averaging 4.7 RPG.

Over its last five games, the Tampa bullpen has allowed four ER and 12 BR in 12 1/3 innings of work.

Over its last five games, the New York pen has given up two ER and 14 BR in 19 1/3 IP.

The totals are 38-49 in Rays games this year, 34-52 in Yanks games, and 19-26 in games played at Yankee Stadium, which are averaging 9.6 total run per.

Zman’s Pick: What a tasty price for one of the best pitchers in baseball. We are undoubtedly on the Rays tonight at +105!