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Preview: Rays at Yankees

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Matt Moore was the leader in the clubhouse for the American League Cy Young Award through the first seven weeks of the season after winning his first eight decisions. Moore - who turned 24 Tuesday - has come back to earth, however, losing three consecutive starts and watching his ERA nearly double during that span. He will look to recapture his early-season form when the Rays open a four-game series Thursday at the New York Yankees.

Veteran Andy Pettitte will square off with Moore, who was just shy of his sixth birthday when Pettitte made his major-league debut in 1995. Pettitte, who turned 41 on Saturday, will be seeking his 251st victory against an opponent he has dominated throughout his career. He is 17-7 against Tampa Bay and will look to provide a spark for the Yankees, who split a doubleheader with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday and have lost six of eight.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), YES (New York)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH Matt Moore (8-3, 4.12 ERA) vs. Yankees LH Andy Pettitte (5-4, 3.95)

Moore's slide continued when he was roughed up for five runs in 5 1/3 innings against Kansas City last time out. He has been battered for 20 runs (19 earned) and 26 hits in only 12 1/3 innings over his last three turns. He has been plagued by control issues during the three-game skid, issuing 11 bases on balls, including a season high-tying six against Detroit on June 4.

Pettitte also came out of the gate fast this season, winning his first three starts, but also has suffered a noticeable drop-off. He surrendered four runs on a season-high 11 hits against the Los Angeles Angels in his last outing - the second time in three starts he's allowed four runs following a stint on the disabled list. Pettitte is 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA in five starts at Yankee Stadium.

WALK-OFFS

1. Pettitte has stymied Rays 3B Evan Longoria, who is 2-for-21 with 11 strikeouts against him.

2. Rays top prospect Wil Myers made his major-league debut in the three-game series at Boston and had a two-run double in Wednesday's victory.

3. The teams have split six meetings this season - all in Tampa Bay.

PREDICTION: Yankees 5, Rays 3

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130620/preview-rays-at-yankees