With opportunities for divisional wins more limited than last season, this is already a critical weekend for the Yankees. New York fell 10 games behind the Rays in the AL East on Friday night and is at risk of farther back than the team can afford. Can they gain ground on Saturday? Tampa is a home favorite at -190 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Saturday’s matchup and take a look at why it’s tough to put any trust in the Yankees right now.
Yankees vs. Rays Prediction
The Yankees don’t roll over easily, as we saw in each of their last two games, but this one feels like it will be an uphill battle with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton still out of the picture.
New York’s offense just isn’t what it was supposed to be, and Drew Rasmussen has carved up some bottom-tier lineups this season. Getting on base isn’t likely to come easy against one of the Rays’ better arms. Tampa also has the bullpen to match the Yankees – it was able to hold down a late lead on Friday night even without closer Pete Fairbanks.
Domingo German has been dominant at times this season and a liability at other points. He’s struggled with the home run in half of his starts, which is a bad sign against a Rays team that is homering at a higher rate than any other.
As long as Judge is out – and likely even when he’s healthy – the Rays simply have the better roster. Rays -190 doesn’t offer much value, but the price on Rays -1.5 (+120) is solid enough that it’s worth the risk here.
Yankees vs. Rays Prediction: Rays -1.5 (+120)
Yankees vs. Rays Odds
The Rays enter as decisive home favorites at -190 on the moneyline. The over/under is 7.5 runs, and you can get Rays -1.5 at +120.
It’s going to be tough to make the Rays anything but a significant favorite in most matchups, at least until they show signs of weakness. With a 27-6 record and an offense that can’t stop hitting home runs, it might take more than Domingo German to slow them down.
Yankees vs. Rays Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Yankees vs. Rays.
Rays’ Power vs. Domingo German
The biggest question of this game is a pretty simple one: Which Domingo German will the Rays see? German came two outs shy of a complete game against the Guardians on Monday, and he struck out 11 Twins in a dominant outing last month. Sandwiched between those two starts is 10 ER allowed in a span of 12 innings.
Will home runs be an issue for German? He allowed a combined five home runs in those two rough starts. He’s had three starts without allowing a homer this season and three allowing at least two. There is no middle ground, at least so far. Against a Rays lineup that has been homering left and right, this is a concern.
Drew Rasmussen vs. Inconsistency
Drew Rasmussen wasn’t inconsistent at all last season, emerging as a core piece of the Rays’ pitching staff, but he’s been strangely hit-or-miss this season.
After a totally dominant start to the year, Rasmussen has allowed 8+ hits in three of his last four starts. In fact, he’s allowed 1-3 hits in three starts and 8-9 hits in his other three. Like German with home runs, there hasn’t been a middle ground for Rasmussen with hits.
It’s tough to feel like the Yankees are built to make Rasmussen pay in this one. New York doesn’t have Aaron Judge in its lineup and has a below average lineup as long as Willie Calhoun and Jake Bauers are regulars. It took them too long to get to Yonny Chirinos on Friday, and Rasmussen has the potential to be even more dominant if he can get back to early-April form.
Yankees vs. Rays Starting Lineups
Yankees Starting Lineup
SS Anthony Volpe R
1B Anthony Rizzo L
DH Gleyber Torres R
2B DJ LeMahieu R
DH Willie Calhoun L
CF Harrison Bader R
LF Jake Bauers L
C Jose Trevino R
LF Oswaldo Cabrera S
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