Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees (6/14/22) Starting Lineup, Betting Odds, Prediction

This is a matchup between two big-name pitchers.

However, these are not the starting pitchers of old. The New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole has the highest ERA of any Yankee starter. While the Tampa Bay Rays’ Corey Kluber – who used to pitch for the Yankees – is aging with a 3.88 ERA.

But the Rays and Yankees don’t flinch. The Yanks have the best record in baseball at 44-16, while Tampa is firmly in the Wildcard hunt, 3.5 games ahead of Boston for the third start.

The AL East is likely the best division in baseball right now, with four of the five teams projected to make the playoffs about half the time. Therefore, divisional matchups like this one have become all-too-important.

Which team has the edge?

Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Tuesday matchup.

Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees Odds

With the Yankees laying over -200 on the ML, I’m already looking towards the other side in this matchup.

Tampa is just 6-9 as an underdog this season, but you’d be up money if you bet them at +170. Kluber may not be the pitcher of old, but Cole is being overpriced after a somewhat mediocre start to this season.

The total looks about right at 8. The wind should be negligible at 5mph, but it is blowing straight towards the short porch.

Let’s investigate this game a little further.

Tampa Bay Rays Starting Lineup

RF M. Margot R
DH H. Ramirez R
1B Y. Diaz R
LF R. Arozarena R
3B I. Paredes R
C F. Mejia S
SS T. Walls S
CF K. Kiermaier L
2B V. Brujan S

Tampa Bay Rays vs Gerrit Cole

It’s not a bad thing that Cole has the highest ERA of any Yankees starter. This is the best starting pitching staff in the league, ranking second in ERA (Dodgers), second in FIP (Giants), and second in xFIP (Giants).

Nestor Cortes is the frontrunner for AL Cy Young. Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon are having big-time rebound seasons. Luis Severino is finally healthy.

Meanwhile, Cole is just trudging along with an ERA hovering around 3.50. He recently had blowup starts against the Orioles and Twins, and his 3.21 ERA may indicate some positive regression.

If anything, this is good news for the Bronx Bombers. If Cole can peak in the second half of the season, the Yankees may be unbeatable.

Everything looks pretty steady, although the spin rate on Cole’s changeup has dipped considerably. While he only throws the pitch about 8.8% of the time, you can combine his changeup regression with his curveball regression to explain the issues with his batted ball stats.

His xwOBACON, which is just expected wOBA on contact, is up about 20 points from last season. That comes from slight regression in his avg. exit velocity and hard-hit rate.

Either way, I’m not sure if the Rays are ready to take advantage of Cole’s vulnerabilities right now. Over the last 30 days, the Rays have been a bottom-10 offense via OPS (.658), wOBA (.290), and wRC+ (94).

The Rays punish curveballs but have posted a negative Weighted Runs Created mark on every other pitch. So, I’m not sure where the runs will come from today.

New York Yankees Starting Lineup

3B DJ LeMahieu R
CF A. Judge R
1B A. Rizzo L
DH G. Stanton R
2B G. Torres R
LF A. Hicks S
SS I. Kiner-Falefa R
C J. Trevino R
RF J. Gallo L

New York Yankees vs Corey Kluber

It’s tough to really project Kluber going forward. His numbers are literally identical to last season, and while his xFIP indicates slight positive regression (3.76), his xERA indicates slight negative regression (4.30).

The projection market has him finishing with an ERA and FIP north of 4.00. But the Rays are an elite team – top-10 in both Outs Above Average and Defensive Runs Saved – so the amount of regression from Kluber could be mitigated by that.

Once a high-strikeout pitcher, Kluber has switched to a pitch-to-contact guy in his elder years (as many pitchers do). His batted ball statistics are elite, and he doesn’t walk anyone (3.9 BB%).

Kluber has re-worked his pitch mix in recent years, becoming more of a cutter-heavy pitcher. He basically never throws his four-seam fastball anymore, and still throws that patented curve as much as anything.

chart 2022 06 13T162812.041

Image credit: Baseball Savant

You’ve probably already heard about the Yankees offense. There isn’t much more to say.

They hit the ball harder than any team in baseball and lead MLB in wRC+ as a result (120). Aaron Judge is the early favorite for AL MVP while Gleyber Torres, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton all have OPS+’s above 125 (Stanton leads that group with 150).

The Yankees offense is rolling right now, and there are no signs of the Bronx Bombers stopping.

Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees Pick & Prediction

My picks: Tampa Bay Rays ML (+185 at Fox Bet Sportsbook)

Despite the Yankees’ deadly offense and their almost unbeatable team composition, +185 is far too cheap of a line to back the Rays.

Whenever the Rays are catching more than +150, I’m generally on their side. The Rays will always win lots of games and will be competitive in almost every scenario.

Plus, Cole is still overvalued in the betting market. There is no major sign of heavy positive regression for him, yet he’s still priced as an ace. He’s better than Kluber, but the Rays staff as a whole will put up a valuable fight.

At anything above +175, I’ll be betting on Tampa Tuesday night.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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