Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees Pick
Tampa Bay Rays (24-11) vs. New York Yankees (19-13)
When: 7:05 p.m., Monday, August 31
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
Starting Pitchers: Tyler Glasnow vs. Gerrit Cole
Moneyline: TB +135/NYY -150 (Intertops - Deposit $25, get $50 Free! Code: ROOKIE200)
Runline: Rays +1.5/Yankees -1.5
Rumor About a Recovery
Time is quickly running out for the Yankees to catch the Rays, but they’re back on their feet in this race. Injuries have hit New York hard this season, with stars such as DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge both missing time. LeMahieu has at least returned to the lineup, and the Yankees got themselves back on track with him in the lineup, winning the final three games of their series against the Mets.
The problem is, while the Yankees were getting healthy off the Mets, the Rays were doing the same thing to the Marlins. Tampa Bay has won five in a row and 12 of 14, putting a lot of pressure on the Yankees before they’re back to full strength. With just 28 games left on the docket, the Yankees are actually closer to the third-place Blue Jays than they are to the Rays, and if New York doesn’t at least win two of three in this series, they can likely kiss the division goodbye.
However, at this point, it has to be asked whether the Yankees even want to win the division, given that the division winner is likely to draw a tough first-round assignment. New York would have to expend a lot of energy trying to catch the Rays when they likely have a playoff spot sewn up anyway. If the playoffs were today, the Yankees would be the No. 5 seed and face the White Sox, hardly the worst matchup. Catching the Rays would currently land the Yankees a series against the Astros or Twins, which might be worse for New York than their current position.
The Lone Exception
There’s a reason that Tampa Bay has charged into first place in the AL East: their ability to beat the Yankees. The Rays have dominated New York this year, holding a 6-1 record against the Yankees and winning all three matchups in the Bronx. The one game that the Rays lost? It was a matchup of Cole against Glasnow, with the Yankees breaking the game open with a pair of homers and a two-run double on their way to an 8-4 win.
The biggest reason for the struggles was the way that Glasnow pitched in each of his past two experiences. When he’s missing bats, he’s as tough a pitcher as there is. In the loss to New York in Florida, Glasnow wasn’t missing bats often enough. Of the 16 batters he faced in that game, eight put the ball in play, and five of them reached base, with another three getting on base via a walk.
Glasnow was better at Yankee Stadium and picked up a win, but there’s still cause for concern at how he got the win. Only one of the balls the Yankees put in play against him was a ground ball, and that can either be excellent or disastrous at Yankee Stadium, depending on what part of the park the ball gets hit toward. Hit to left-center, and you’re looking at several fly outs. Hit it to left or right field, and you’re looking at an early trip to the showers. In this game, the wind is coming in slightly, so Glasnow might get away with inducing fly balls.
Cole has really been suffering from the injuries to the Yankee lineup, as he is getting next to no run support from his lineup as of late. In his first five appearances, Cole could count on quality run support coming from the Yankee bats, as he never pitched a game without getting fewer than four runs from his teammates. Not surprisingly, New York was 5-0 in those games. But in Cole’s past two appearances — including one against Glasnow and Tampa Bay — the Yankees gave him a combined three runs of support, leading to both games ending up in the loss column. Obviously, the Yankees can’t help injury problems, but the fact remains that this offense is not what it has been earlier this season, and an under of eight runs is very much in play here.
- The Rays are 11-1 in their past 12 road games.
- The Rays have won five straight as an underdog.
- The Yankees are 3-7 in their past ten games.
- The Rays have won eight of the past nine against the Yankees.
- The Rays have won four of the past five against the Yankees by at least two runs.
- The under is 4-0 in the Rays’ past four games.
- The under is 6-2 in the Yankees’ past eight as a favorite.
- The under is 14-5-1 in the past 20 meetings in New York.
With the wind blowing southeast at eight miles per hour, expect balls to stay in the park on a 74-degree night in the Bronx.
New York still isn’t healthy, even with LeMahieu back in the lineup, and there is no way that I want to lay the juice with the Yankees when the Rays have beaten them soundly all season long. Tampa Bay has a much better lineup situation, and as great as Cole is, he’s got a lack of run support to worry about here, especially given that Glasnow already shut the Yankees down in their ballpark.
Tampa Bay is simply playing better right now. I’ll take a shot with the live dog and back the Rays here.
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