The New York Yankees (76-58) and Tampa Bay Rays (74-61) continue a pivotal American League East series on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET on ESPN
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
New York opened a crucial road trip with a 4-3 series-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Labor Day, as the club’s 10-game lead of the past has shrunk to just a single game. “When you win the division, you don’t really care what you win by,” commented Yankees manager Joe Girardi. The Bronx Bombers have made the MLB postseason each of the last 15 times they’ve been in first place at the start of play on Sept. 1. New York is 6-7 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season.
Yankees starting pitcher Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.90 ERA) has led the club to wins in four of his last five outings, including a no-decision effort in a 4-2 road victory over the Cleveland Indians, allowing two runs and four hits over just 4.2 frames. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 4.56 ERA in 13 road appearances (nine starts), issuing 14 walks and striking out 50 batters in 53.1 combined innings. In 10 lifetime appearances in this ballpark, Garcia has compiled a solid 5-2 record and 3.63 ERA.
Tampa Bay is now just 2.5 games back of its current opponent in the division standings, as the club has won eight of 13 series meetings this year. “When we’re playing better teams, I think we’re playing better baseball,” commented Rays manager Joe Maddon. The Rays have done their best work against the Yankees in front of their home fans, winning 10 of their last 11 meetings in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay is a dismal 4-10 at home with a money line of -100 to -125.
Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (8-8, 4.39 ERA) has watched the team celebrate with a win in his last six outings, but he didn’t earn a decision in an 8-4 road victory over the Texas Rangers, giving up four runs (three earned) and eight hits over 4.2 innings. The right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA in nine home outings, as he’s yet to surrender a home run in 52.1 combined frames. Cobb has an 0-1 record and 3.46 ERA in two lifetime starts versus the Yankees.
Sports bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 6-2 run versus divisional foes, while the Yankees are 1-7 in their last eight against winning teams.