MLB Weekend Preview: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
First place in the AL East is up for grabs when the New York Yankees (22-15) travel to Tampa Bay to kick off a three-game series with the Rays (23-13) at Tropicana Field on Friday night. Here’s what bettors should be looking for throughout the weekend.
Friday, 7:10 p.m. ETDomingo German (6-1, 2.35 ERA) (NYY) +145 / +1.5 runs (-155) / Over seven runs (-125) Tyler Glasnow (6-0, 1.47 ERA) (TB) -160 / -1.5 runs (+130) / Under seven runs (+105)
Two surprising Cy Young candidates in Domingo German and Tyler Glasnow kick off this Yankees-Rays series on Friday night. German pitched to a mediocre 5.22 ERA as a part-time swingman over the last two seasons, but he’s suddenly transformed himself into the ace of the Yankees staff. Opponents are batting just .158 against him this season, meaning the Rays’ 17th-ranked offense (4.69 runs per game) could struggle here.
Glasnow has seemingly put it all together in his fourth season in the big leagues. Per ESPN, he was 127th out of 140 pitchers in strike rate (minimum 100 IP) in 2018 but is 18th out of 125 pitchers in strike rate (minimum 25 IP) in 2019. Glasnow’s great fastball and curveball didn’t mean a lot when he couldn’t spot them, but now he can. New York’s bats have lacked some pop over their last nine games, notching just 32 runs (3.55 per tilt).
MLB Free Play: Under
Saturday, 6:10 p.m. ETCC Sabathia (2-1, 3.20 ERA) is the listed starter for the Bombers on Saturday, while it looks like a patented “bullpen game” for the Rays, as their starter has not been announced. Sabathia’s past performances against Tampa’s hitters are a mixed bag. Outfielder Avisail Garcia is just 3-for-14 against the veteran southpaw but is swinging a hot bat at the moment, registering 11 hits in his last eight contests. Catcher Mike Zunino is 5-for-11 lifetime against Sabathia and has five hits and five RBI in his last four games.
Yonny Chirinos (4-1 record, 3.52 ERA) is likely to get the bulk of the innings for the Rays on Saturday, per CBSSports.com. His WHIP is an impressive 0.889 through seven appearances this season. Tampa’s bullpen ranks third in the majors in ERA at 3.31.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. ETSunday’s series finale will see Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 3.77 ERA) and Blake Snell (3-3, 3.62 ERA) square off. Tanaka has performed unevenly since posting two brilliant efforts to start the season. He’s allowed at least one home run in his last six outings, and his SO/W ratio is just 2.00 in those starts. Garcia, Zunino, and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier are a combined 16-for-52 (.308) against the Japan native. Backing up Tanaka is an underachieving Yankees bullpen that’s just 16th in ERA at 4.21.
Snell appears to have recovered from a rocky pair of starts against the Royals that followed a trip to the IL for a toe injury, tossing six innings of shutout baseball (one hit, no walks) against the Diamondbacks on Monday. He’s done well against the majority of the Bombers’ lineup (outfielder Clint Frazier and infielders Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres have just three hits between them in 16 combined at-bats), but catcher Gary Sanchez has had his number, mashing three home runs in just 11 lifetime at-bats. He’s also drawn five walks. However, Snell was dominant in his own building last year, pitching to a 1.27 ERA in 14 starts (10-1 record).
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