Monday night baseball and we will see the New York Yankees travel south to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in game 1 of their 3 game series. The game is scheduled for a 7:10 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds have Tampa Bay favored at -132, while the Yankees are dogs of +124. The total for the game sits at 8.5 runs.
Free Analysis: The Yankees were baseball’s best team in June, going 20-7 to seize control of a tight American League East race, and they carried that momentum in July with a victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. The Yankees lead the majors in going deep with 124 homers, and are 11-2 in their past 13 road games. And nobody in the majors is hotter than 2B Robinson Cano, who has a .377 BA with 9 HR and 16 RBI in his past 14 contests. Cano has also crushed Tampa Bay in his career with a .323 BA (.382 this season) and 21 HR. The Yanks have really hit lefties well this year, with a .352 OBP and a scoring average of 5.7 rpg vs them. The Yankees are 15-9 (.625) versus southpaws this season and are also impressive on the road (23-14, .622). Freddy Garcia takes the mound for the Yankees, making his first start since April 28. He lost his spot in the rotation for good reason, with a 12.50 ERA and 2.19 WHIP in his four starts. Overall, including his bullpen efforts (1.56 ERA in 10 app), he has a 6.39 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 2012. In 16 career starts versus the Rays, Garcia’s team has prevailed 11 times, earning a 3.33 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in that action. He’s only faced them twice since 2006, but both performances were dominating: 13.2 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 14 K. The Rays, meanwhile, led the division a month ago but now sit in fourth after losing six of their last seven games. The Rays, have leaned heavily this season on a pitching staff that ranks fourth in the league in ERA (3.67) and a bullpen that has converted 24 of 28 save chances, the AL’s second-best success rate. Offensively they have struggled vs righties this year, huitting just .235 and scoring 4.3 rpg off of them. At home the Rays have averaged just 3.98 rpg and have hit a mere .216. Moore has faced the Yankees once in his short career, throwing five shutout innings last year with 11 strikeouts and just one walk, a dazzling performance. Moore had a strong month of June, going 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA and 32 K in 31.1 IP. Over the course of the past three seasons, the Rays have owned the Yankees with a 14-7 record at home in Tampa Bay. This season, they have already swept New York while at Tropicana Field.
Free Pick: I will look to the dog in this one. Freddy Garcia has struggled in his 4 starts with the Yanks (12.50 ERA), but this is one team he has done well against. Garcia is 9-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 16 career starts vs the Rays, including going 5-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 9 starts at the Trop. He is facing a Rays team that is struggling offensively of late, averaging just 2.4 rpg in their last 7 games. The Rays have a team ERA of 3.67 (4th), but of late that pitching has suffered as they have allowed 5.6 rpg in their last 7 games. Not good when your about to face a very good hitting Yanks team. Matt Moore had a nice June (3-0 with a 3.16 ERA), but they Yanks have cranked out 5.7 rpg vs lefties on the year, so he may be in for a long night. The Yanks were swept here earlier in the year, but these are two different teams that are headed in opposite directions and New York should get a measure of revenge with a solid win in the opener of this 3 game set.
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