With 27 wins over their last 36 games the New York Yankees have built a season-high six-game lead in the AL East, which also marks the biggest divisional lead in the Majors at the moment. The Yanks now begin this week with a three-game series in Florida vs. the Rays, where they’re liable to be popular among our daily free MLB picks.
The Yanks just split four games with the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, losing 4-3 Thursday and 14-7 Friday but winning 4-0 Saturday and 4-2 Sunday.
Tampa, meanwhile, just lost three of four games to the Detroit Tigers over the weekend, falling 5-2 Thursday, winning 4-2 Friday, then dropping games Saturday and Sunday by scores of 6-2 and 5-3.
So going into this series the Pinstripes lead the AL East by six games over second-place Baltimore, 6.5 games over Boston and 7.5 games over the Rays.
New York, with both CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on the DL, will give Freddy Garcia a start Monday and David Phelps a start Wednesday, while Ivan Nova will take his turn on Tuesday.
Tampa will counter with Matt Moore Monday, James Shields Tuesday and David Price Wednesday.
Most online sportsbooks are listing the Rays as -130 favorites for Monday night’s game, with an ‘over/under’ of 8.5.
Also, thanks to the rotation replacements for NY, BetOnline is chalking Tampa at -140 to win this series, with the Yanks getting +120.
As far as the bats are concerned the Yankees, with All-Stars Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano causing havoc, lead the Majors in home runs with 124 and are averaging 4.8 runs per game.
Tampa, meanwhile, is averaging 4.2 RPG, and has been held to three runs or fewer in 10 of its last 15 games. The Rays are also now 26-30 with 3B Evan Longoria on the DL.
Tampa is also playing without OF Matt Joyce, who’s on the DL with a bad back. The Rays have lost nine of 13 games since Joyce went out.