It can often be a double-edged sword when we have a quick rematch of starting hurlers. That is especially true when it's a battle we've seen often in recent seasons, and that is the backdrop when the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees once again pique our interest with an outstanding matchup of southpaws on Thursday to close the crucial AL East series.
CC Sabathia and the Pinstripe Posse opened as $1.45 favorites in the 7:05 p.m. (ET) first pitch at the House That George Built. Tampa Bay's David Price slings in opposition with an 7½-run total that leans 'over.'
Sabathia and Price met exactly four weeks ago on the same diamond, and it was the Yanks who scored a 5-3 win to reward NY backers who were paying -135. Sabathia's stake to being the staff ace of the mighty Yankees since he joined the team for the '09 season is well deserved, and New York is a healthy 8-3 with their rotund lefty on the hill this campaign.
Still, the Rays in general, and Price specifically, have given Sabathia trouble with the Yanks 6-9 in his 15 career starts while wearing pinstripes vs. Tampa Bay. Price checks in Thursday with the Rays 8-5 in his 13 lifetime assignments against New York, and they were a perfect 5-0 when he matched up with Sabathia before May's tussle.
There are some conflicting totals trends for these pitchers; the 'under' is 6-5 in Price's starts, including each of his last four outings, while the 'over' has cashed in Sabathia's last two trips to the mound and seven of 11 for the season.
New York took Game 1 of the set on Tuesday by a 7-0 count. The Yankees were -130 for that contest and -145 for Game 2 on Wednesday, with those results still pending.
Tribe & Tigers Close Motown Series With Matinee
The close-knit races in both East Divisions have served to push the other geographical sets to back burners. Simmering among the groups is the AL Central that was supposed to belong solely to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are instead a hunter, instead of the hunted.
Detroit and the Cleveland Indians are indeed on the prowl of the elusive Chicago White Sox as the Tigers and Tribe complete a key series in Motown with a Thursday afternoon affair (1:05 p.m. ET). Cleveland trots Derek Lowe to the Comerica Park bump in a game that opened as a pick against Detroit rookie Casey Crosby. The total is either nine favoring the 'over' or 9½ with an 'under' lean depending where you look.
Cleveland halted a 7-game losing skid in Detroit with a 4-2 victory in Tuesday's opener, which closed with the Indians +145 underdogs. Game 2 on Wednesday found Detroit once again significant 160 chalk with a 9-run total.
Atlanta was simply looking to dump some salary when dispatching Lowe to the Indians in an offseason deal. Lowe lost 17 games for the Braves with a 5.05 ERA last year, and was seen as just a veteran innings eater for a suspect Cleveland staff. Instead, he has elevated his game and his status to ace of the Tribe's rotation.
Cleveland is 7-4 behind Lowe with his backers up about $3.20 so far. He will be facing the Tigers for the first time in about four years, his last start vs. Detroit coming in a 2008 interleague contest while Lowe wore a Dodgers uniform.
Crosby was called up on June 1 to take the rotation slot left vacant by Doug Fister's second stint on the DL for 2012. His MLB debut came against the Yankees and certainly didn't go as either Crosby or the Tigers hoped. He was chased one out into the fourth and ultimately charged with six runs, half of them coming plateward on a Curtis Granderson bleacher bomb.
Detroit owned this matchup from 2009-11, winning 35 of the 54 clashes. The Motown Cats were also on a 13-2 run at Comerica entering Wednesday. Cleveland served notice a couple of weeks ago at home that the Tigers' overall dominance might be coming to an end with a sweep to stop a 10-game Detroit string of dubyas. It should be pointed out, however, that the Indians opened 2011 with a broom job at home before losing 12 of the final 15 meetings on the slate.