Tampa Bay and New York continue battle for the top spot in the AL East
Tampa Bay heads into Tuesday night’s series opener against their bitter AL East rival with a game and half lead over the Yankees in the division. The Rays took two-of-three from Baltimore to reclaim the lead with an overall record of 31-23. They are an even 12-12 on the road this season and the total has stayed ‘under’ in six of their last eight games.
The Rays’ eight runs in Sunday’s win over the Orioles was a good sign considering they had managed to score a total of 12 runs in their previous five games. In case the offense stalls-out again, Tampa Bay will look to Alex Cobb as their starter to keep New York in check. He is 2-1 on the year with a 3.71 ERA in just three starts this season. The right-hander gave-up four runs on nine hits in just five innings of work his last time out.
New York continues to battle its way back into the division race with a 7-3 record in its last 10 games. The Yankees are coming off a nine-game road trip in which they went 6-3. They are 3-3 in their last six home games and 14-11 at home overall. The total has stayed ‘under’ in four of their last seven games overall.
The Bronx Bombers continue to rank near the top of the AL in both hitting, with a team batting average of .266 and scoring, with an average of 4.70 runs per game. Pitching continues to be a bit of an issue with a team ERA of 4.07, but New York is hoping for another quality start from Ivan Nova in Wednesday night’s game. The right-hander earned the decision against the Rays on May 8 after holding them to two earned runs on six hits. He is currently 6-2 on the year with a 5.60 ERA. Lifetime against Tampa Bay, Nova is 3-0 with an ERA of 3.26.
Tampa Bay has won six of the last nine meetings overall, but is 1-3 in its last four games in New York. Stick with the Yankees in Game 2 of this three-game series given they are 11-4 in Nova’s last 15 starts and a perfect 5-0 in his last five starts against the Rays. New York 5 Tampa Bay 4