Tampa Bay Rays (28-11) at New York Yankees (25-13)
7:05 PM ET on ESPN
TB: W. Davis (3-3, 3.38)
NYY: A. Burnett (4-1, 3.31)
The AL East leading Tampa Bay Devil Rays will start a five game road trip with a short two game series against division rivals the New York Yankees beginning on Wednesday in the Bronx.
The Rays have the best record in the majors and led the Yankees by three games in the division. They are currently riding a four game winning streak including a 6-2 over Cleveland on Tuesday. Meanwhile, New York, who owns the best home record in the majors (12-3), is 3-2 in their last four with a 7-6 loss at bitter rival Boston in their last outing.
Tampa Bay’s bullpen, after some early season slumps, has been nothing short of spectacular, with a 1.57 ERA since April 14 and only three earned runs allowed in its last 31 1/3 innings. It has made up for a struggling offense that has a combined average of just .249 — 22nd in the league. One exception is third baseman Evan Longoria, who has 21 RBIs in his past 19 games and a .313 AVG.
The Yankees offense has been rolling, averaging six runs per game at home, and is the number one team when it comes to loading the bases with a .365 OBP. Pitching had the biggest role in the first series against the Rays earlier this season, which the Yankees won two, scoring 20 runs while conceding 12 over a three game series in Tampa.
Yankee skipper Joe Girardi will try to continue that trend by turning to wily veteran A.J. Burnett in game one. The 33-year old continues to impress, recording his fourth win of the season beating the Twins 8-4 on Friday. The right-hander allowed three runs (two earned), seven hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings. Burnett is 12-4 with a 2.70 ERA in 22 career starts against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay will counter with righty Wade Davis, who has yet to allow more than four earned runs in any of his starts this year and has competed in every game. The 24-year old starter has pitched much better than his record indicates and is coming off a 4-3 loss against the Mariners in his last outing on May 14. Davis surrendered three runs off five hits in six innings on the mound. He gave up a two-run blast to Franklin Gutierrez in the first inning and allowed an Adam Moore solo shot in the fifth for his only damage of the night. Unfortunately, his offense didn’t score enough runs for him as he was tagged with his second loss in a row and third overall. Davis also struck out two and walked three while raising his ERA to 3.38. Davis started against N.Y. on April 10, and allowed four earned runs over six innings while earning the loss. He is 0-02 with a 5.73 ERA lifetime versus New York.
The odds makers have the Yankees as –1-½ – favorites with a run total of 9. Check out the live MLB betting odds here.
Picking a winner or a loser is tough in this one, and my first reaction is to go with the Yanks and home field advantage. However, I expect the Rays to continue their hot streak taking it to the New York in game one and the OVER.
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