Monday Night ESPN Baseball Free MLB Picks, Tips and Odds: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays Favorite, Moneyline, Total and Expert Predictions 7/18/11: The powerhouses of the American League East will continue to go head-to-head as the New York Yankees travel to Tampa Bay Monday night for the start of a four-game series. Both teams are looking up at the division-leading Boston Red Sox, but both clubs are still firmly in the mix for a division title and a wildcard spot. With the All-Star Game in the books, the push for the postseason is officially underway. Expect a playoff-type atmosphere when these two teams take the field.
The pitching matchup in this contest is far from a showdown of aces. The Yankees will send the erratic A.J. Burnett to the mound to face the Rays’ rookie starter Alex Cobb. Burnett is 8-7 with a 4.15 ERA in 2011, but he is winless in his last five starts against Tampa Bay with a 7.83 ERA during the stretch. Cobb has been solid this season, posting a 3.41 ERA and a 2-0 record in five starts as the replacement for the injured Wade Davis. However, he will be facing a loaded Yankees lineup for the first time in his young career.
The aforementioned New York lineup is going to play a big part in who wins Monday’s series opener. The Yankees lead the majors with 125 home runs this year and are second in runs scored. Even with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list, there is still plenty of pop in Joe Girardi’s lineup. After all, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson enter the game tied for the second-most home runs in the AL with 25 each. The Yankees are always one swing away from a big inning, which means Cobb will have to keep his mistakes to a minimum.
Tampa Bay should be able to score its fair share of runs as well. Third baseman Evan Longoria has destroyed Burnett in his career to the tune of a .342 batting average, and center fielder B.J. Upton is swinging his best bat of the season. The Rays will also look to run when they get on base, which could induce some mistakes and wild pitches from the always emotional Burnett. Let’s face it. Burnett can have control issues even when pitching his best. He once walked nine batters en route to a no-hitter.
With both questions surrounding both starting pitchers and both offenses waiting to take advantage, Monday’s game could be decided by the bullpens. The Yankees have the edge in that category, and it’s not because the Rays don’t have quality arms to call upon. The problem for Tampa Bay is that they are coming off a 16-inning affair against the Boston Red Sox Sunday night, and eight different relievers saw action. Whoever manager Joe Maddon calls upon, they are likely to be at less than 100 percent.
In a matchup that has all the makings of an offensive outburst, the Yankees should come out on top that to the power in their lineup and a rested bullpen. It is bad luck as much as anything for the Rays that the best home run hitting team comes to down the night after playing a 16-inning game, but the Yankees aren’t likely to show any sympathy. New York will outslug the Rays down the stretch in a game that should easily exceed the nine runs currently listed as the over/under.
Free MLB Picks and Expert Tips: New York Yankees (-1 ½) Cover the Spread, Teams Combine to Score More than Nine Runs
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|New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay rays
Time: 7:10 PM EST
Vegas Odds –
Favorite: NY Yankees -135(moneyline) Total: Over/Under 9 Runs
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