While CC Sabathia has returned to All-Star form after a rough first outing, Matt Moore has been excellent in his three starts as well.
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays will each send an outstanding left-hander to the mound on Monday night when they open a three-game series at Tropicana Field.Despite all its injuries, New York (10-7) appeared to be on the verge of its 10th win in 12 games on Sunday before Toronto rallied with four runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh for an 8-4 victory.Chris Stewart hit a solo homer for the Yankees, who still came away with their fourth straight series win following a 1-4 start."Our goal is to take every series and if you can do that, you're going to be in good shape come September," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not the way you want to leave but we won two out of three here."Now they'll turn to Sabathia (3-1, 2.57 ERA) as he looks to claim his fourth straight win after losing 8-2 to Boston in the season opener.The six-time All-Star has struck out 15 and walked only one in his last two starts and has given up just four earned runs over 23 innings while winning his last three.Sabathia, though, hasn't fared as well against the Rays. He's 3-8 despite a 3.67 ERA in his last 18 starts in this series overall and 1-4 with a 4.01 ERA in his previous eight at Tropicana Field.Evan Longoria has done some damage against Sabathia, batting 14 for 39 (.359) with three doubles and five homers.After having 10 or more hits only once in its first 13 games, Tampa Bay (8-10) had that many for the fourth time in five games and completed a sweep of Oakland with an 8-1 victory on Sunday."It's very encouraging," Ben Zobrist told the league's official website. "It's certainly something we want to build on."The Rays have scored at least six runs in four of their last five and will try to keep their hot hitting going for Moore (3-0, 1.00), who seeks his fifth straight win dating back to last season.Moore gave up his first two runs of the season on five hits and struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings in a 6-2 win at Baltimore on Wednesday.Despite issuing 11 walks, he has struck out 20 and allowed just eight hits over 18 innings.Moore might not be too thrilled to see the Yankees, though. He allowed 11 runs over 9 1/3 innings in two September losses to New York.While Vernon Wells has batted 7 for 15 with two homers in his last three games, he may have a tough time in this contest since he's 1 for 6 with two strikeouts against Moore.After hitting just .219 over their first five games, the Yankees have batted .293 with 21 homers and 71 runs over their last 12.The Rays have won 11 of 13 meetings in St. Petersburg dating back to the 2011 season.
The Yankees visit the Rays on Monday Night Baseball tonight and the starting pitchers -- CC Sabathia and Matt Moore -- are No. 1 and 3 on the list of largest drop in fastball velocity from last season to this season (among pitchers with a minimum 1,000 fastballs thrown last year AND 125 thrown this year -- roughly 125 starting pitchers per season).