We handicap the Rays and Yankees series here, in hopes of coming up with some winning baseball picks. They're tied for first place in the AL East as they begin a three-game series in the Bronx Monday night.
Rays vs. Yankees Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
Game 2 Recap
Brian McCann knocked in three runs with a pair of doubles and spot starter Chase Whitley held Tampa to one run through five innings as the Yanks picked up a 4-2 victory. New York, to our delight, won as a -105 favorite on the MLB odds, and the game played UNDER a total of eight runs.
The Yankees are now 5-0 against the Rays this season.
Tampa starter Jake Odorizzi gave up four runs and nine hits through 6 1/3 innings, losing to New York for the second time already this season.
After Whitley left the game the Yanks bullpen allowed one run on three hits through four innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
So after winning the last five games of their recent home-stand the Rays have lost the first two games of their current nine-game road trip.
Game 3 Betting Odds
As of early Wednesday morning the best line we could find on New York with Michael Pineda was the -149 offered at BetOnline, while Tampa and Drew Smyly were getting +141 at Heritage. And most books were listing the total on today's game at 7.5 runs.
Pineda, moving up a spot in the rotation now that New York has place Masahiro Tanaka on the DL, is two-for-four on quality starts this season. Last Friday he held the Mets to one run and five hits through 7 2/3 innings, while just before that against these Rays he gave up three runs and seven hits through 5 2/3 innings. So on the season he's allowed 11 runs and 29 base-runners (hits + walks) in 25 2/3 innings, with just two walks and 27 strikeouts. The Yanks are 4-0 in Pineda's starts this year, with the totals leaning toward the OVERS by a 3-0-1 margin.
Since the beginning of last season Pineda has started three times against Tampa, allowing eight ER and 24 base-runners through 18 1/3 innings. New York won two of those games, and all three of those games played OVER the totals, mainly because a couple of those totals were listed so low.
Smyly will be making his second start of this season, coming back late after doing a stint on the DL with a sore shoulder. In his season debut last Friday he gave up two runs and four hits through 4 2/3 innings against Toronto, with zero walks and five strikeouts. Tampa won that game 12-3.
Last year, while going 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA splitting time between Detroit and Tampa, Smyly started once against the Yanks, holding them to two runs and four hits through seven innings of a 3-2 Rays loss.
Game 3 Free Pick
We give Pineda the edge in the pitching match-up. Also, New York owns a .379 team OBP this season against left-handed pitching. So we like the home team today. And since we also like to gamble we'll take the Yanks on the run line, searching for a price with our MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: New York -1.5 runs getting +145 at BetOnline
Rays vs. Yankees Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
Rays-Yanks Game 1 Recap
New York's Brian McCann broke a 1-1 tie with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth, and the Yanks tacked on two more on their way to a 4-1 victory, snapping Tampa's five-game winning streak. New York won as a -125 post-time favorite on Monday's MLB odds, and to our frustration the game stayed UNDER its total of eight runs, in part because the teams combined to leave 11 runners in scoring position on base.
With the win the Yanks took over first place in the AL East. They're also 4-0 against the Rays this year.
New York starter Adam Warren held Tampa to one run through 5 2/3 innings, walking none while whiffing six, while Rays starter Nathan Karns gave up one run through 4 2/3 innings, walking two while striking out five. The Yankees bullpen then tossed 3 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, while the Tampa pen gave up three runs through 3 1/3 innings.
Game 2 Betting Odds
As of early Tuesday morning New York and Chase Whitley were lined at -105 at WagerWeb, while Tampa and Jake Odorizzi were lined at -101 at GT Bets. And most books were posting the total at eight runs.
Whitley is coming up from Triple-A ball to make a spot start Tuesday night. He earned the call this week by going 2-0 in three starts this spring down at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, with a 2.12 ERA, allowing four runs and 13 hits through 17 innings.
Last year Whitley went three-for-12 on quality starts for the Yankees, going 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 23 overall appearances.
This will be Whitley's first-ever start against Tampa, although he did hold the Rays scoreless on one hit through four innings of relief against them last season.
Even by our tough standards Odorizzi is three-for-four on quality starts this season. Last Thursday he held Boston to one run and three hits through 6 2/3 innings, and on the season he's allowed just five runs and 20 base-runners through 27 1/3 innings.
Tampa is 3-1 in Odorizzi's starts, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS 3-1.
Since the beginning of last season Odorizzi has started five times against New York, including a decent effort ten days ago, allowing 15 ER and 37 base-runners through 26 innings. Tampa went 2-3 in those starts, with the totals tilting OVER by a 4-0-1 margin.
Game 2 Free Pick
The Yanks are playing some good ball at the moment, and getting good work from their bullpen. In fact, the bullpens decided Monday's game. So while we're becoming fans of Odorizzi, we'll go with the home team at the short price tonight with our MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: New York -105 at Bovada
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Rays-Yanks Game 1 Betting Odds
As of early Monday morning New York and Adam Warren could be found giving -138 at Heritage, while Tampa and Nathan Karns were getting +131 at 5Dimes. And most shops were posting a total of eight.
Also, BetOnline was listing New York at -170 to win this series, with Tampa getting +150.
New York just took two of three games from the Mets over the weekend, winning Friday 6-1, losing Saturday 8-2 then winning Sunday night 6-4. Yanks starter Nathan Eovaldi gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings Sunday night, but the bullpen then threw 4 2/3 innings of hit-less ball to secure the victory.
Just before that New York took three of four games from Detroit, and just before that it swept three games from these Rays. So the Yankees have won eight of their last ten times out.
Tampa, meanwhile, just swept three games from the Blue Jays over the weekend, by scores of 12-3, 4-2 and 5-1. Just before that the Rays took the last two games of a series against Boston. So Tampa begins this week riding a five-game winning streak.
Rays pitching has held five of its last six opponents to three runs or less.
This is the second meeting between these divisional rivals this season; two weeks ago the Yanks swept three games down in St. Pete by scores of 5-4, 9-0 and 5-3. All three of those games played OVER on the totals.
Today's match-up is a re-match of a game played back on April 17, a 5-4 New York victory. Karns gave up two runs through five innings that night, while Warren gave up four runs in four innings. The Yanks won as -105 road favorites, and that game played OVER a total of 7.5 runs.
Warren is 0-for-three on quality starts this season. Last Wednesday he gave up four runs in less than six innings against Detroit, and for the season he's allowed nine earned runs and 24 base-runners (hits + walks) through 15 innings. New York is 2-1 in Warren's starts, while all three starts have played OVER the totals.
Ten days ago in his first-ever start against Tampa Warren went to the bottom of the fourth with a 2-0 lead, then gave up a single-walk-homer-homer. He got out of that inning, but was then lifted.
Karns is one-for-four on quality starts this season. Last Wednesday against Boston he gave up five runs in six innings, and on the season he's allowed and 30 base-runners – 14 on walks – through 23 2/3 innings. Tampa is 2-2 in Karns' starts, while all four of his starts have gone OVER the totals.
Ten days ago in his first-ever start against New York Karns held the Yanks to two runs through five innings, giving up just two hits. But he walked four, and both hits left the yard.
Monday's Batting Splits
Tampa owns a .333 team OBP and a .384 team slugging percentage against right-handed pitching this season.
New York owns a .298 OBP but a .413 slugging percentage against righties.
Totals Betting Trends
New York is 13-5 on the MLB odds OVERS this season.
Tampa is 10-9 on the totals.
Tampa OF Desmond Jennings missed Sunday's game with a sore knee, and is questionable for Monday.
New York OF Jacoby Ellsbury sat out Sunday's game with a sore hip, but he'll probably play tonight.
Rays-Yanks Game 1 Free Pick
Warren is 3-0 on the OVERS this season; Karns is 4-0 on the OVERS; and when those two faced off a couple of weeks ago the game went OVER in the top of the sixth inning. Seems like reasons enough to place your MLB pick OVER on tonight's game.
Free MLB Pick: OVER eight runs (+101) at Bovada