Date/Time: September 24th, 7:05 PM ET
Television: MLB Network
Probable Starters: Moore (Tampa Bay) vs. Kuroda (New York)
Moneyline: Rays -108
If the New York Yankees have any hope of getting into the playoffs, they had better sweep the three games starting on Tuesday night from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay is finding ways to win everything right now, and we know that catching fire in September was going to be the key for some of these teams to get into the playoffs. The Rays are doing just that. They’re up a game on the Cleveland Indians and two on the Texas Rangers, and their magic number to ensure that there is a home playoff game at the Trop is just five. However, the Indians and the Rangers both have very easy schedules the rest of the way, so just getting into the playoffs, especially if this series is lost, is nothing that is a guarantee. LHP Matt Moore has been thrown into the fire before in his career, and he is going to have a shot to essentially eliminate the Yankees on Tuesday night. Moore is 15-4 on the season, and the argument could be made that in other years, that would be good enough to contend for the Cy Young Award. As it is, Moore still walks far too many batters (67 on the season), and he is coming off of a bad outing against the Texas Rangers in which he allowed six runs, five of which were earned in just four innings. However, the Rays haven’t lost since that point.
The Yankees are still breathing, but they’re on life support, and they know it. Sweeping this series is all that would keep them alive for sure, as anything less will probably result in elimination. We already know that LHP CC Sabathia is being shut down for the season, and that leaves the team without what should be its best starter. New York has to make up five games here on Tampa Bay or four on Cleveland and get past Texas and Kansas City (and fend off Baltimore) to get into the playoffs. It’s not likely, but it’s not over until it’s over. Sabathia might not be pitching, but the good news for Yankees fans is that RHP Hiroki Kuroda is. Kuroda is only 11-12 on the season, but he has been a victim of not getting all that much help all season long. The truth of the matter is that he has pitched like an ace, posting a 3.17 ERA this year. He was smacked by this Tampa Bay team for seven runs in just six innings back in August though, and he and his mates haven’t really been the same since.
New York has been unlucky, but this is a relatively ridiculous price right now on a team that should have at least a 50/50 shot of winning this game. Moore is great, but the Yankees are playing to win all three of these games as they have to. There will be some life in the Bronx Bombers, and it will show on Tuesday in the form of a big victory to stay alive for at least another day.
Tampa Bay Rays @ New York Yankees Pick: New York Yankees +100
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.