The calendar says it’s still only September but the judging by the intensity of the baseball odds action this series it sure feels like its mid-April and the middle of a playoff series.
And in many ways it pretty much is considering that the Yankees vs. Rays series is a matchup of the best two teams in baseball fighting for a slim lead in the AL East and home field advantage throughout the post season.
New York(87-57) has held a slight, but comfortable lead over Tampa for most of the past month but recently hit the skids, getting swept by the Texas Rangers and losing 7 of its past 11 games. And things haven’t get any easier for the defending champs as they lost the opener of this series against Tampa and now find themselves trailing the Rays by .5 games in the baseball lines standings.
Tampa (87-56) is just 5-5 over its past 10 games but that’s been good enough to gain the upper hand on the slumping Yankees in the AL East division race and have a decided edge in this series.
The intensity of the at Tropicana field was something rarely seen in the regular season baseball odds action and as close to a playoff type atmosphere as fans are going to see until the playoffs actually begin.
For Wednesday’s game the Yankees send Phil Hughes (16-7, 4.26 ERA) to the mound. Hughes is just 1-2 over his past four starts giving up 11 runs in those outings including an abbreviated 1.0 inning 0 run outing during his last start. He could be rusty and pitching in front of a packed house of rabid Rays fans isn’t likely to help his causes any.
Tampa will start James Shields (13-12, 4.98 ERA) who’s been up and down this season but mostly up of late. He’s 3-1 over his past five starts, but has given up a combined 10 earned runs over his past two starts.
This baseball odds battle will likely be settled at the plate as neither team has their ace on the mound and both lineups are loaded with talented batters. Look for high scoring game with plenty of lead changes but ultimately terminating in another Rays win.