The Tampa Bay Rays (31-25) and New York Yankees (31-24) will continue an American League East series on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees 

New York Yankees SP CC Sabathia is 3-1 with a 2.37 ERA in four home starts in 2012

Tampa Bay has been able to muster up just a single run in dropping the first two games of this series, including a 4-1 setback on Wednesday night.  “Not hitting happens,” commented Rays outfielder B.J. Upton in summarizing the team’s recent struggles at the plate.  The Rays have now lost seven of their last 10 games, moving them from first to third in the divisional race.  The club is going to have a hard time avoiding a sweep, considering its 3-10 record in its last 13 games at this ball park.  Tampa Bay is 8-12 versus left-handed starters this year, with the “under” going 11-8 in those contests.

Rays starting pitcher David Price (7-3, 2.44 ERA) picked up a 5-0 home victory over the Baltimore Orioles last time out, tossing seven shutout innings and allowing just four hits.  The left-hander is 3-2 with a 4.00 ERA in six road outings, with opponents hitting .301 against him.  In 15 career games (14 starts) versus the Yankees, Price has tallied a 5-3 record and 4.15 ERA, but suffered a 5-3 road loss in his last outing on May 10.  He surrendered a season highs in both runs (5) and hits (11) in that effort.

New York has moved a season-high seven games over .500 due to winning five of its last six games, as it looks to improve upon its 10-6 mark when facing southpaw starters in the series finale.  The Yankees continue to live and die by the long ball, with second baseman Robinson Cano and first baseman Mark Teixeira leaving the yard last night.  The squad is 31-12 when hitting a home run this season, while losing all 12 games when failing to do so.  New York is 11-9 versus division foes this year.

Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (7-2, 3.68 ERA) has received nine runs of support in each of his last two outings, picking up road wins over the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers in those contests.  The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.37 ERA in four home starts this year, issuing nine walks and striking out 31 in 30.1 combined frames.  In 26 career games versus the Rays, Sabathia has registered a 10-7 record and 3.11 ERA, including a 7-2 mark and 2.40 ERA in 13 home outings.

Bettors will likely back the Yankees due to their 22-5 record in Sabathia’s last 27 home starts versus winning teams, while the Rays are 2-5 in Price’s last seven starts as a road underdog of +110 to +150.

Pick: New York Yankees -140

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