The Yankees recovered from a rough stretch with a sweep of the dismal A’s. The Rays will represent the complete opposite challenge. Just a few days after taking two of three from the Yankees at home, Tampa will head to New York looking to strengthen its grip on the AL East. Domingo German and Drew Rasmussen are expected to face off for the second time in a week. The Rays are slight road favorites at -125 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Thursday’s AL East battle and break down why the Rays can get back to their winning ways.
Rays vs. Yankees Prediction
Let’s try this again. The Rays couldn’t hold the lead when we saw this pitching matchup less than a week ago, but Rasmussen had the Yankees’ lineup completely out of sync. Are we sure Aaron Judge’s return can instantly change that? Rasmussen keeps runners off the basepaths, so the Yankees might need to take advantage of the stadium dimensions and hit some homers.
I’m interested to see how this Rays lineup handles German the second time around. One of the best power-hitting lineups in baseball didn’t take advantage of German’s occasional troubles with the home run ball last time out. Based on the way Tampa has hit all year, it feels like this offense is bound to hit one or two out in Yankee Stadium.
The Rays enter this one having lost two straight, including a disappointing offensive performance to close out their series in Baltimore. Kevin Cash’s team seems too talented and too smart right now to drop three in a row.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are due for a letdown after beating up on the A’s. Rays -125 is the pick for Thursday’s game.
Rays vs. Yankees Prediction: Rays -125
Yankees vs. Rays Odds
The Rays enter as slight road favorites at -125 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8.5 runs.
The line is narrower than it was for most of the last series between these two teams. The location is the biggest factor, but it might also matter that the Yankees are the team entering with all of the momentum this time around. Will the Rays be motivated for a bounce-back night after a disappointing series at Camden Yards?
Rays vs. Yankees Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Rays vs. Yankees.
The Yankees and Rays have two of the top three bullpens in baseball in terms of ERA, but one is dealing with some injuries at the moment. With Pete Fairbanks on the IL and Garrett Cleavinger out for the season, the Rays have hit some bumps in the late innings recently.
The bullpen was the difference in their one loss to the Yankees last weekend, coincidentally also during a Domingo German start. New York’s relievers slammed the door after five innings by German, while the Rays couldn’t hold onto a lead after a great start by Drew Rasmussen.
The Yankees’ bullpen isn’t perfect, considering there isn’t a clear-cut closer, but the Rays are going to need a better performance from that out of a thinner than expected bullpen – particularly with Aaron Judge back in the fold for the Yankees.
Yankees’ Low-Contact Lineup vs. Drew Rasmussen
Rasmussen has been hit-or-miss this season, but it’s been more hit than miss. When he’s at his best, he’s routinely limiting teams to two or three hits in his outings. He predictably bounced back and held the Yankees to just two hits in his last start.
The Yankees entered Wednesday with a .233 AVG as a team, 25th in baseball. There’s some reason to believe this lineup can put a better effort together this time, though. Judge is back, which is crucial, while Harrison Bader is continuing to hit as he settles in after a month on the IL.
New York should start to make some more contact, even if home runs will continue to be how they win. With more familiarity against Rasmussen and the lineup carrying serious momentum into the series after capitalizing on bad Oakland pitching, it will be worth watching whether the offense can stay hot.
Rays vs. Yankees Starting Lineups
Rays Starting Lineup
1B Yandy Diaz R
SS Wander Franco S
LF Randy Arozarena R
2B Brandon Lowe L
DH Harold Ramirez R
3B Isaac Paredes R
RF Josh Lowe L
C Christian Bethancourt R
CF Jose Siri R
Yankees Starting Lineup
SS Anthony Volpe R
RF Aaron Judge R
1B Anthony Rizzo L
2B Gleyber Torres R
3B DJ LeMahieu R
CF Harrison Bader R
DH Jake Bauers L
C Jose Trevino R
LF Aaron Hicks S