Another Pitchers’ Duel: C.C. Sabathia and The Yankees Wrap up 4 Game Set in Tampa Bay

N.Y. Yankees (57-38) AT Tampa Bay Rays (51-45)
July 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM EST
Opening Line:  NYY -140, TAM +120
Current Line:  NYY -140, TAM +120
Opening Total:  7
Current Total:  7

SP:  NYY- C.C. Sabathia; TAM- James Shields

Evan Longoria still has yet to find the groove, and is hitting .238 on the season

C.C. Sabtahia has shown no signs of slowing down, age age 31, and seemingly is perpetuating his prime, as he seeks a major league leading 15th victory tonight.  His ERA is at 2.64 and he has 134 Ks in 153.2 IP.  Perhaps even more impressively, Sabathia has given up only 5 home runs all season, while also walking only 38 batters.

Over his last 7 starts, Sabathia has struck out 50 batters and over his last 5 games (39.2 IP), he has given up only 2 runs.  He’s won 7 consecutive starts and an 8th would be the first time he’s had a streak of 8 or more since July of 2010.  He also had a 23.2 Innings scoreless streak before allowing 3 hits in 8 innings of a win over the Blue Jays on Saturday.  In his 10 starts against the Rays since joining the Yankees in 2009, Sabathia is 2-4 with a 3.76 ERA and he threw a 4 hitter in his only 2010 start against the Rays, a game which the Yankees eeked out 1-0.

No less – Sabathia had success last year despite a torn meniscus in his knee.  He still logs a ton of innings, over 230 each of the last two seasons, and he’s on pace for another year of high IPs.  Last year it seemed to affect him in the postseason (11 runs in 16 innings), but he has thrown significantly more than any pitcher in the majors.  One has to wonder if Joe Girardi is going to cut his innings and pitch count back to keep him fresh for the playoffs…

The Rays will send James Shields to the mound, who, despite having a better ERA than Sabathia, has far less wins to show for it, with an 8-8 record.  He is 3-10 against the Yankees, however, a team which he has a 4.47 ERA against.  In the eight home matchups against the Yankees, Shields has gone 1-5 with a 3.83 ERA.  He says he is “looking forward to it” and is “sure CC is ready to rock over there.”  Surely, Shields realizes he is every bit as good a pitcher, even if he hasn’t received the run support.

Against Shields:  Cano hits .383 in 47 AB, Jeter is .310, Posada .303.  Conversely, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera, and Nick Swisher, have had little success against Sheids and are a combined 14 of 94.

Shields gave up 6 runs in 6 innings of a 9-5 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday, his fourth consecutive loss in his last 4 starts.

Even managers and players have trouble getting through shutouts, and today could be one, on either side.  “Those shutouts are really tough to watch sometimes,” Girardi confirmed what everyone knows and agrees with.

The Yankees are still within striking distance of the first place Red Sox, only 1.5 games out, while the Rays have fallen into irrelevance by losing 6 of their last 8 and they are now 8 games out of first.

Some betting trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the Yankees’ last 6 games and they are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.  The total has gone UNDER In 5 of the Yankees’ last 6 on the road and they are 4-1 SU in their last 5 road games.  The Yankees are 4-1 SU in their last 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays.  The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the Yankees last 7 games against the Rays while the total has gone UNDER In 4 of the Yankees’ last 6 games on the road against the Rays.

The Tampa Bay Rays are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games and 1-4 SU in their last 5 home games.  The total has gone UNDER in 13 of the Rays’ last 19 home games and it has also gone UNDER in 5 of the last 7 against the Yankees.  The Rays are 1-4 SU in their last 5 against the Yankees, while the total has gone UNDER in 4 of the last 6 games at home against the Yankees.

It’s interesting to see the total set at 7, given the fact both pitchers have ERAs in the mid 2.00s.  I really like the ‘under’ on this one.  The line is set slightly in the Yankees favor, as it should be, and the total offers the most value on this game.

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