The Yankees have lost some ground in the AL East race with the Toronto Blue Jays. They want to be able to stay close but have to get by odds favorite Tampa Bay.
The Yankees are trying to get back momentum, but they definitely lost it over the weekend. The Yankees lost three of four to the Toronto Blue Jays at home in Yankee Stadium. Their pitching got absolutely clobbered in the first three games of the series, before Masahiro Tanaka – the pitcher who knows how to handle the Jays – shut down Toronto in the must-have series finale on Sunday. Had the Yankees lost that game, they would have dropped 5.5 games behind the Jays and would have been on life support in terms of the division race. With the win, they stayed in the thick of the hunt as a realistic division contender. They won on Monday against the Rays to move within three games of the Jays, so the chase is still very much on.
The Rays are playing out the string. They lost to the Yankees on Monday despite the fact that pitcher Erasmo Ramirez pitched seven no-hit innings. This is a team which lost manager Joe Maddon and other core players last year. The Rays have actually not performed that poorly relative to expectations, but they’re still a struggling team that doesn’t find offense very easily.
With Luis Severino on the mound, the Yankees have an exciting young pitcher they hope will be a cornerstone of their rotation for years to come, but this remains a pitcher who is going through a learning process and will therefore be susceptible to some bumps in the road. Severino has a 3.35 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. He has been very good in the majority of his seven starts. He recently went through a period of three starts in which he gave up only two total runs in 18 1/3 innings. However, in his most recent start last weekend, the Blue Jays tore into him for six runs in just 2 1/3 innings. It was the first time Severino really got rocked in the majors, so this start is going to be pivotal for him: Does he bounce back, or does he lose confidence in what he has?
Tampa Bay sends ace Chris Archer to the mound. Archer has a 2.95 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, which are both terrific numbers in the American League. Archer has, however, seemed to wobble a little more often. Coming out of the All-Star break, he was a lot more consistent, but in his last six starts, he’s been all over the place. He pitched two shutouts, one of them a complete game, but he also gave up eight runs in another start, five in another, four in another, and three runs in five innings in his most recent start on Sept. 11 against Boston. Is he getting tired? It seems like it. Don’t expect Archer to go deeper than the seventh inning in this one.
What’s The Pick?
Both pitchers are mysteries right now, even though one has more of a track record than the other. However, with Severino getting hammered in his last outing, he might struggle with his location early on. Archer is more likely to beat him than not. Take Tampa Bay with your MLB pick in this matchup.
MLB Pick: Tampa Bay -127 at 5Dimes