Tampa Bay Rays Odds
The Tampa Bay Rays would take over first place in the American League East with a victory over the host New York Yankees on Thursday. After two close wins in New York, the Rays will be going for their first sweep at Yankee Stadium since June 30-July 2, 2014.
The Rays will use an opener and a bulk pitcher in their attempt at the sweep when John Curtiss (1-0, 2.84 ERA) starts with Trevor Richards (0-0, 5.93) expected to follow. Richards last pitched Aug. 14 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when he allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Both pitchers were used in Tampa Bay’s 4-3 win over the Yankees on Aug. 9, combining for six innings and yielding just two unearned runs.
New York Yankees Odds
The New York Yankees seem to be unable to shake the Tampa Bay Rays as they are 1-5 against them and 15-3 against everyone else heading into the series finale Thursday.
New York is hoping James Paxton (1-1, 7.04 ERA) continues to show some more encouraging signs in his fifth start since offseason back surgery. Paxton struck out 11 in 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball Aug. 9 at Tampa Bay, then followed it up by allowing three runs on six hits in five innings Saturday against Boston.
Fastball velocity is a key storyline for Paxton, who is averaging 92.3 mph on the pitch, down from the 95.4 he averaged last season. Paxton is 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in six career starts against the Rays.