New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick 7/4/19
The top two teams in the AL East clash when the Yankees and Rays open a four-game rivalry series Thursday night down in St. Pete. New York leads Tampa by 6.5 games in the divisional race, so this series is a chance for either the Yanks to really pull away or for the Rays to make up ground. Who do we like here for our free MLB pick?
MLB Betting Odds
Thursday's MLB betting odds opened New York at around -110 over Tampa, with an over/under of nine runs. Both those figures were holding steady in the early betting action.
Yanks vs. Rays Set-Up
New York just split two games with the Mets earlier this week, losing Tuesday 4-2 but winning Wednesday 5-1. Just before that the Yankees swept two games from Boston, and just before that they swept three games from Toronto. Going back a bit New York is 14-2 over its last 16 games.
Tampa, meanwhile, just took two of three games from Baltimore earlier this week, missing out on the sweep by losing Wednesday 9-6. That game was tied at 3-3 into the ninth inning when the Rays gave up six Orioles runs.
Just before that Tampa took two of three from Texas. So the Rays are 4-1 over their last five games.
At 55-29 overall the Yankees lead the AL East by 6.5 games over 50-37 Tampa Bay. New York also leads Minnesota and Houston by a game and a half in the battle for the best record in the American League.
The Rays also lead the AL wild-card race by two games over second-place Cleveland.
The Yanks lead the season series with Tampa seven games to two.
Thursday's Starting Arms
Chirinos, by our stringent accounting, is 5/11 on quality starts this season, but three for his last five. Last Friday he gave up four runs – three earned – on five hits and four walks through six innings of a 5-0 Rays loss to Texas. But over his last five starts, he's allowed just 10 earned runs and 25 hits through 32 innings.
On the season Tampa is 5-6 with Chirinos starting this year, and while it's 0-4 over his last four starts, that's not all his fault.
In three appearances against New York this season, two in relief, Chirinos allowed five runs and 13 hits over 14 2/3 innings. The Rays lost that start by a score of 3-0.
Lefty Happ is only 4/16 on quality starts this year and 0 for his last three. Eleven days ago he got bounced for eight runs and 11 hits, including three homers, through four innings of a 9-4 loss to Houston. And over his last three starts, he's allowed 14 runs and 23 hits through 14 innings.
The Yankees are 11-5 with Happ this season, but only 1-2 over his last three starts.
Over his last four starts against Tampa Bay, three last year, including two when he was still with Toronto, and one a couple of weeks ago, Happ allowed just five runs and 13 hits through 22 2/3 innings. The Yanks won their two games with Happ.
Thursday's Batting Splits
New York is batting .274/.350/.484 against right-handed pitching this season. Those numbers help this lineup rank No. 1 in the Majors in that split.
Tampa is batting .255/.322/.399 against left-handed pitching this season.
The Yankees bullpen owns a 4.10 ERA this season and a 1.30 WHIP while allowing a .715 OPS.
The Rays pen owns a 3.50 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP while allowing a .682 OPS. Numbers like those help this unit rank as one of the top three or four bullpens in Baseball at the moment.
- Overs are 46-35 in Yankees games this season.
- Unders are 44-35 in Rays games this season.
- Totals are split 4-4-1 in Yanks-Rays games this season.
- Overs are 19-18 in games played at Tropicana Field this season.
- Unders are a combined 16-9 in games started by Chirinos and Happ this season.
- Get more details: Yankees at Rays MLB Match-up Stats
Yankees at Rays Prediction 07/04/2019
We'd give Tampa and Chirinos the edge in the pitching match-up, but Happ has been tough on the Rays over the last season-plus. Also, while Tampa might own an advantage in the bullpen comparison, New York holds the edge with the sticks. Plus, the Yankees are just hot. We'll take New York for our free MLB pick for Thursday.