Yankees vs. Rays: Pettitte vs. Shields Yankees vs. Rays: Pettitte vs. Shields Yankees vs. Rays: Pettitte vs. Shields
 

Yankees vs. Rays: Pettitte vs. Shields

The AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays (31-23) are in town to face the third place New York Yankees(29-24) in a three-game set with the division at stake.

Rays James Shields - Yankee Stadium - 09-21-2011

Tonight, the Rays send James Shields to the hill against the Yankees southpaw Andy Pettitte.

SHIELDS vs. PETTITTE

Shields, is 0-1, with an ERA of 7.36 in his two starts this season against the Yankees. Shields threw a combined 11 innings, allowing nine earned runs, three homers, while walking six, and fanning seven Bombers.

Yankees Robinson Cano has been trouble for Shields, but I am more interested to see how Mark Teixeira does because of his low success against the 30-year old righty.

Since Pettitte took 2011 off, he has not faced the Rays since 2010, but his numbers are not any better than Shields. Pettitte made two starts vs. Tampa Bay and posts a 0-1 record, giving up nine earned runs, four homers, with six strikeouts and five walks.

Pettitte has to watch out for switch-hitting Ben Zobrist who has given him problems in the past. In 16 at-bats, Zobrist has seven hits, two homers, four RBIs; three walks and posts a .438 average. Also, Carlos Pena has a career .325 average against the Yankees southpaw.

Prediction:

Both the Rays and Yankees have same 14-14 records for the month of May, as well as being 2-1 so far in June.

Still, I give the Yankees the edge in-game one but not by much.

This is mainly because Shields has not pitched well in the Bronx this season; and the Rays have gone 8-11 vs. lefty pitching this season, which is favorable for Pettitte.

Also, Shields has struggled in his last three starts as he has given up 24 hits and been tagged for 11 earned runs.

The Yankee are returning to the home from a 6-3 road trip, which finally saw the bats heating up consistently but also they were stealing bags and bunting again something that is so critical for this team to continue to do.

The Yankees have waited to pounce in the division as they have hung around the middle to bottom of the AL East for most of the 2012 season.,

The players got some needed rest with an off day yesterday, so don’t be surprised if Shields has his hands full.

Also, look for Rays skipper Joe Maddon, who is a creative, mad-genius to do something out of the norm in attempts to throw the Yankees off a bit but I think in this game it will be too little, too late.

YANKEES BEAT RAYS 5-3.

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