Sportsbook.com Line/Total: Tampa Bay -142, New York +132/8 under -115
AL East rivals collide on Monday when the first place Tampa Bay Rays, host the second place Yankees, who are closer to last place (1.5 games) than first place (2 games) in the division. This is the first meeting between two teams that both reached the postseason in 2010, and have had opposite seasons so far in 2011.
After starting the season 17-9, the Yankees have fallen on hard times. New York was just swept at home by the Red Sox, to give them five straight losses and nine defeats in their past 12 games. A.J. Burnett (4-2, 3.38 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Burnett won his first three starts, but despite allowing 2 ER or less in four of his five starts since then, the Yankees are just 1-4 over that span. Burnett was erratic Wednesday, allowing a solo homer while walking five, hitting a batter and striking out six in seven innings of a 4-3, 11-inning loss to Kansas City. However, he has done very well in his career at Tropicana Field. He is 6-1 with a 1.55 ERA over his past eight starts in Tampa Bay, winning all four starts in a Yankees uniform. He has not allowed more than 2 ER in any of those eight starts.
While the Yankees got off to a great start and have struggled recently, the Rays have taken another path. After starting the season with six straight losses and just one win in their first nine games, the Rays have won 22 of 31 (.710) to go from five games out in last place to two games up in first place. David Price (5-3, 3.12 ERA) gets the start for the Rays and the left-hander has been outstanding after getting off to a rough start. After losing his first two starts and posting a 4.85 ERA, Price is 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in his past six starts. He is 2-2 with a 2.89 ERA, striking out 30 in 28 innings over four starts at home, allowing no earned runs in both victories. He's 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in eight games (seven starts) against the Yankees, going 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts at Tropicana Field, with each resulting in Tampa Bay victories.
The Rays won 10 of 18 against the Yankees last season. Despite their 22-9 record recently, they have struggled at home all season, going 10-12. Tampa also enters Monday with a two-game losing streak, getting outscored 15-3 in those to defeats to Baltimore.