Yes, the Rays (19-10) have a 3½-game lead on the Yankees (15-13) in the AL East. However, 13 of Tampa’s 19 wins have come at home (the Rays are just 6-7 on the road). Yes, the Rays are riding a seven-game winning streak against the Yankees. However, the last six of those wins came in Tampa (the home team has won 14 of the last 17 meetings). Yes, the Rays are unbeaten in James Shields’ six starts this season, including a 7-6 win over New York in the opening week of the season? However, that start came at home (and Shields allowed six runs in five innings). In Shields’ last four appearances in the Bronx, the Rays are 0-4. Speaking of 0-4, that’s the Rays’ record the four times they’ve seen New York right-hander Ivan Nova, who in his last three outings against Tampa has given up just three earned runs on 13 hits in 18 2/3 innings (1.45 ERA). Although he got roughed up in his last start (5-0 loss to Baltimore), Nova has been a money-making machine for the Yankees, who are 17-5 in his last 22 starts dating to June 10; they’re also 11-3 in Nova’s last 14 starts at home. You don’t get many opportunities to play the Yankees as this cheap of a home favorite, especially when the opponent is minus its best power hitter (Rays 3B Evan Longoria is on the DL till July) and possibly minus its leadoff hitter (OF Desmond Jennings is questionable with an injury).
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Monday’s Result: Spurs (-8) at Jazz (Loss)