The Tampa Bay Rays (31-23) and New York Yankees (29-24) will open up a three-game American League East series on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Tampa Bay moved back atop the AL East standings after taking two of three games at home against the Baltimore Orioles, but will now face a club that is just 1.5 games back heading into this crucial three-game series. The Rays are 17-12 against divisional opponents this year, which is the best mark of any of the teams inside the AL East. The club holds a 4-2 advantage in this year’s series with New York, but did drop two of three at this ball park from May 8-10. Tampa Bay is 3-7 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season.
Rays starting pitcher James Shields (6-3, 3.95 ERA) has watched the club alternate wins and losses over his last six outings, coming off a 7-2 home loss to the Chicago White Sox last time out, giving up six runs (five earned) and 10 hits over six innings. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five road starts, issuing eight walks and striking out 27 in 34.2 frames. In 22 career starts versus the Yankees, Shields has tallied a 5-12 record and 4.39 ERA, including a 5-3 setback at this venue on May 8. He gave up three runs and four hits over six innings in that effort.
New York returns home after a successful 6-3 road trip, with third baseman Alex Rodriguez starting to catch fire after a slow start to the 2012 MLB season. He has managed to hit four home runs in his last 10 games, which could continue due to hitting .302 with three big flies in his career against Shields. New York is 6-0 when playing after an off day, with the “over” going 4-2 in those contests.
Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte (2-2, 3.49 ERA) will look to bounce back from a 5-1 losing effort on the road to the Los Angeles Angels, allowing a season-high five runs and nine hits over seven frames. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in three home starts this year, issuing five walks and striking out 19 in 21.1 innings. In 31 career games (30 starts) versus the Rays, Pettitte has registered a 16-6 record and 4.11 ERA, but was 0-1 with a 11.05 ERA in two outings in 2010.
Bettors will likely back the Yankees due to their 7-1 record in Pettitte’s last eight starts with six days rest, while the Rays are 3-8 in their last 11 games against left-handed starters.