Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees Pick 7/18/19
Tampa Bay Rays (56-41) vs. New York Yankees (60-33), 7/18/19
Time: 7:05 pm ET Thursday, July 18
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Listed Pitchers: Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) vs. JA Happ (7-5, 4.93, 1.26)
TV: FS Sun, YES
Moneyline: Yankees -120/Rays +110 (BetAnySports)
The Rays and Yankees complete a four-game series with a make-up doubleheader Thursday in the Bronx. Tampa will throw a hot Charlie Morton in the second game Thursday, while (as of this writing) New York was uncertain whether it would go with JA Happ or an “opener” and the bullpen. How are we playing this game with our free MLB pick?
MLB Betting Odds
Thursday’s MLB betting odds opened New York at around -120 for the late game of this twin-bill, with an over/under of 9.5 runs. Both figures were holding steady in the early betting action then.
Rays vs. Yanks Set-Up
Tampa took the opener of this series Monday night 5-4, but New York took Tuesday’s game 8-3. Wednesday’s game was then postponed due to unpleasant weather, creating Thursday’s doubleheader.
The Rays cashed as +140 dogs on the MLB betting line Monday while the Yankees won as -150 favorites Tuesday.
Tuesday’s loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Tampa, which is now 5-2 over its last seven games.
With Tuesday’s victory, New York is still only 3-4 over its last seven games.
So heading into Thursday the Yankees, at 60-33, lead the AL East by six games over the 56-41 Rays. New York also leads Houston by two games in the battle for the best record in the American League.
Tampa, meanwhile, also leads the American League wild-card race by a half-game over both Cleveland and Oakland.
The Yanks lead the season series with the Rays 10 games to five.
Thursday’s Starting Arms
It’s Happ’s turn in the rotation for New York, although some reports indicated the Yankees would go with an opener for this game. If it’s Happ, here’s what’s relevant.
Lefty Happ, by our stringent standards, is only 4/18 on quality starts this season, although some of that is due to a short leash. Five times this season he’s come within three outs of one of our “official” quality starts, only to get pulled. Last Saturday he held Toronto to two runs and five hits through 5 1/3 innings, although New York lost that game 2-1. And just before that he held this Tampa team to one run and three hits through 5 1/3 innings of an 8-4 Yankees victory.
New York is 12-6 with Happ this season, 8-3 over his last 11 starts.
Over his last five starts against the Rays, three last season (two while still with the Blue Jays) and two this season, Happ allowed just six runs and 16 hits through 28 innings. The Yankees are 3-0 when Happ starts against Tampa.
Morton is 11/20 on quality starts this year and one out away from a run of three in a row. Last Saturday he held Baltimore to two runs on six hits through six innings of a 12-4 Rays win. And over his last three starts, he’s allowed just four runs and 15 hits, with 28 strikeouts, over 18 2/3 innings.
Tampa is 13-7 with Morton this season, 3-0 over his last three starts.
Over his last four starts against New York, two last year while with the Astros and two this season, Morton allowed eight earned runs and 19 hits over 23 1/3 innings. The Rays are 1-1 when Morton starts against the Yanks.
Thursday’s Batting Splits
Tampa is batting .255/.322/.412 against left-handed pitching this season.
New York is batting .272/.347/.481 against right-handed pitching this season. Numbers like those help this unit rank among the top two or three in the Majors in this split.
The Rays bullpen owns a 3.76 ERA this season and a 1.24 WHIP while allowing a .695 OPS.
The Yankees pen owns a 3.93 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP while allowing a .711 OPS.
Both these bullpens rank among the top handful in the Majors right now.
- Unders are 48-40 in Rays games this season.
- Overs are 49-40 in Yankees games this season.
- Unders are 28-20 in games played at Yankee Stadium this season.
- Unders are a combined 19-17 with Happ and Morton this season.
- Overs are 7-6-2 in Rays-Yankees games this season.
Free MLB Pick
We’re assuming Happ hits the hill for this game, but even if he doesn’t, it won’t change our pick. Frankly, we don’t know who’s going to win this game, but with Morton and two good bullpens, we expect a low-scoring affair. And it seems oddsmakers are over-posting Yankee Stadium totals. We’re going with the under on this game for our free MLB pick.
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