The New York Yankees (102-55) begin a mini two-game set against the AL East-rival Tampa Bay Rays (93-64) at Tropicana Field Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET.
The Yankees are battling to secure top spot in the American League. The Rays enter Tuesday just a half-game up on the Cleveland Indians for the AL's second wild-card spot. This is one of few games on Tuesday's slate with serious playoff implications for both teams involved.
Yankees at Rays: Projected starting pitchers
LHP Jordan Montgomery* vs. RHP Yonny Chirinos
Montgomery is expected to start as the opener before moving aside for CC Sabathia to pitch the bulk of the middle innings. Montgomery gave up a home run and three earned runs over a two-inning relief appearance against the Toronto Blue Jays in his season debut last week. Sabathia carries a 4.99 ERA into his final week of MLB regular-season play. He started each of his previous 22 games this season.
Chirinos will make his first start since Aug. 4 after returning from the injured list to pitch one inning of relief over the weekend. He has a 3.67 ERA over 127 2/3 innings spanning 17 starts and seven relief appearances. He strikes out 7.90 batters per nine innings with 1.97 walks and 1.41 home runs allowed.
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Yankees at Rays: By the numbers
- Both teams have won six of their last 10 games. New York enters with back-to-back wins, the Rays took three of four from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.
- The Rays have allowed 70 fewer runs than the Yankees but New York has scored 170 more runs than Tampa Bay.
- The Yankees are up 12-5 in the head-to-head season series, most recently sweeping a three-game set at Yankee Stadium in mid-July.
- The series is 7-8-2 against the over/under. The Yankees went 4-5-1 against the O/U across their last 10 games. The Rays played to the OVER in seven of their last 10.
- The Yankees' active roster ranks second in baseball with a .837 team OPS against right-handed pitching. The Rays rank 20th with a .752 team rate against LHP.
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Yankees at Rays: Key injuries
Yankees SS Gleyber Torres (hamstring) and 1B Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) are both day-to-day.
Yankees at Rays: Odds, picks and betting tips
Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports' betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 3 p.m. ET
Moneyline: Side with the visiting Yankees at +110 with the better offense in the pitching split. A $10 wager pays a profit of $11 should the Yankees win outright.
Run line: Stick with the moneyline rather than laying the -182 for the Yankees to cover the spread of +1.5. We don't need to pay the price for one run of insurance.
New to sports betting? The run line of +1.5 allows the Yankees to lose the game by one run with a bet on the visitors still cashing. It also cashes if the Yankees outright win.
Over/under: Get the OVER (9.5, +105) with both teams likely to use a handful of relievers to get through nine innings.
Esten's September record: 59-41
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