Tampa Bay (42-39) at NY Yankees (42-37)
When: Friday, July 3rd, 2015
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Time: 7:05 ET
TV: MLB Network
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The Tampa Bay Rays were one of the hottest teams in Baseball for the first half of June. Since then, they have been in a free fall. The Rays have lost 9 of 11 games including a 4-game home sweep at the hands of the Indians. If it wasn’t for their pitching, they wouldn’t in the middle of the logjam atop the American League East standings. Their hitting is horrible. They rank near the bottom of all the major batting categories. They’re hitting .240 as a team and only score 3.5 runs a game. They don’t have a .300 hitter who starts everyday, Evan Longoria has only hit 8 home runs, and their home run leader Steve Souza is hitting .209.
Tampa’s ace Chris Archer takes the mound tonight. This will be his 18th start. He is 9-5 with a solid 2.39 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. His last outing was one of his worst as he allowed 5 runs in 5 innings to the Red Sox. He did manage to strike out 10. That was his first loss since May 5th against Texas. His only start this year against the Yankees went pretty well. He took a no decision pitching 7 strong innings. He was 2-0 in 3 starts last year against New York.
The Yankees come home to finish up the first half of the season in Yankee Stadium. They lost 3 of their last 4 on their latest road trip and really struggled to score runs. They scored 6 runs in those 4 games, but are still second behind Toronto in runs scored for the year.
Since coming back from the Disabled List, Masahiro Tanaka was great in his first 3 starts, but the last 2 have not been good. The Tigers and Astros beat him up pretty good. In those 2 starts he’s given up 17 hits and 13 runs in 10 innings. In an April start against the Rays, Tanaka shut them down for 7 innings allowing only 2 hits and striking out 8. Look for more of the same tonight.
Archer is pretty good and Tanaka has struggled lately, but the line of -120 is too tempting for me to pass up. I think the Yankees bats wake up and take game 1.
Pick: Yankees -120