Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees
The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees both look to return to the playoffs as the top two teams in the AL East from last season open their season’s against one another in 2012. The Yankees are -130 favorites over the Rays with an over/under run total set at 7.
Last season it was a slow start and a magical end as the Tampa Bay Rays couldn’t buy a win to start the year and on their final at bat of the regular season Joe Maddon’s team put themselves in the post season. The Rays look to be just as tough if not tougher this season and barring another horrific start they should be competing for the division and not just hoping to squeak in for the Wildcard. Desmond Jennings is a legitimate leadoff hitter and table setter while B.J. Upton should be solid once again in the two spot. Evan Longoria came up big once again for Tampa bay last year and Carlos Pena is backing hoping to provide the pop bur he will need to improve on his batting average from last season. While the Rays were a post season team last year James Shields finally put together a big year and in the end that was part of what put them over the top. Shields has spent much of his career trying to get over the hump and last year he made the All Star team and looked to take his game to the next level. Kyle Farnsworth had a career year last season and the Rays can hope that it wasn’t a one year wonder but him hitting a turning point in his career.
The New York Yankees are another year older and heavy favorites to win the American League East. The Yankees appeared head towards another ALCS last season but were dropped by the Tigers and the cast knows that this group doesn’t have all that many chances left as a unit. Derek Jeter rode his 3,000th hit to a big year last year just when he looked like he was on the decline and for much of the year Curtis Granderson was in the MVP conversation. Mark Teixeira seems to have become more of a slugger than a hitter and Alex Rodriguez missed a lot of the season. Robinson Cano seems to be developing into a great hitter who while he isn’t selective makes solid contact every time and Brett Gardener looks like a legitimate table setter. C.C. Sabathia gets the start here and for most of last season it didn’t look like he would be back with the Yankees but this rotation should be slightly better than last season. Mariano Rivera isn’t getting younger but he hasn’t lost much if anything and he’ll have several guys in the pen to help him out like Dave Robertson though with Boone Logan still the left handed option it is a real weakness for this team.
Tampa Bay is 20-8 in their last 28 home games, 4-1 in their last five home games against a elft handed starter, and 6-2 in game one of a series. New York is 1-5 in their last six road games, 4-1 in their last five game one of a series, and 15-7 in Sabathia’s last 22 road starts. The Ryas won the last four meetings of these two.
I like Sabathia and the Yankees in this one. Take them at minus 130.
New York Yankees -130 Tampa Bay Rays