MLB Picks: Rays vs. Yankees Series Coverage

Willie Bee

Monday, June 30, 2014 1:36 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 30, 2014 1:36 PM UTC

Tampa Bay is a win away from sweeping the Yankees in New York, and the Rays are favored to do just that in Wednesday afternoon's MLB odds matinee in the Bronx.


2nd July
Rays vs. Yankees Game 3

By: Willie Bee


Winning in New York has become no problem for Tampa Bay the past couple of seasons. The Rays came away with a 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday as David Price continued his recent mound dominance, leaving Tampa Bay with a 10-2 record in the last 12 clashes in the Bronx and on the verge of a second sweep in the last three series on this field.

One of seven matinees on Wednesday's baseball betting card (1:05 PM ET), the Rays will have their brooms ready in search of a fifth consecutive win as Jake Odorizzi takes his turn in the TB rotation. New York will try and fend off its fifth straight loss behind lefthander Vidal Nuno.

The Hump Day tilt was sent out as a pick 'em on the overnight lines, but SBR's live baseball odds now show the Rays to be -115 favorites.  Nine is the number totals bettors are faced with for the matchup.

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Nuno Gets 3rd Look At Tampa Bay Lineup
Odorizzi's first full season in the bigs has been filled with ups and downs, but it has been mostly positive his last four times out. The 24-year-old righthander has pitched to a 1.44 ERA in that span, but didn't get enough help from his lineup or his bullpen in two of them to leave the Rays level in those contests.

One problem Odorizzi has is the inability to pitch very deep into his starts, five of the 16 not even reaching the 5-IP plateau. That was the case when he faced the Yankees in New York on May 3, Odorizzi only making it three batters into the fifth without retiring any in a 9-3 Tampa Bay defeat.

Nuno turned in a surprisingly good effort last Friday in the series opener vs. the Red Sox, pitching into the sixth with just two hits and no runs allowed in New York's 6-0 win. The lefty entered that game with a 7.09 ERA in his first 39.1 innings at Yankee Stadium. Nuno is seeing the Rays for a third time with this outing, New York splitting his first two starts while he posted a 3.72 ERA.

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
An 'under' in Paul Schrieber's last game calling balls and strikes halted a string of four 'over' winners to leave the 18-year veteran ump 6-9-1 (O/U/P) for 2014. This is his first game at Yankee Stadium this year, both of his plate assignments in the Bronx last season skipping past the total.

A 30% chance of rain exists for the NYC area this afternoon, and increases into the evening. Look for game-time temps in the upper 80s with a 10-15 mph south wind (right to left). Should rain force a postponement, the game would likely be made up when the Rays next visit New York in early-September.

We're playing this one according to the current streaks, and making a free pick on Tampa Bay to complete the sweep.

MLB Pick: Rays -115

Season: 81-78 (+3.55)


1st July
Rays vs. Yankees Game 2

By: Willie Bee


Tampa Bay used long flies to score early on Monday, then the Rays let New York pitchers help them with the rest of the scoring they needed for a 12-inning, 4-3 win over the Yankees.

New York hurlers walked eight Rays, two of those free passes eventually coming around to score Tampa Bay's final two runs of the evening after a pair of home runs accounted for the first two plate crossings. It was the Rays' third straight win and the Yankees' third consecutive loss as the clubs head into Tuesday's tilt.

David Price gets the call for Tampa Bay in Game 2, current MLB odds showing the Rays to be small favorites in the -110s for the affair.  Hiroki Kuroda delivers the game's first pitch for New York at 7:05 PM (ET), and a 7.5 run total leans to the 'under.'

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Will Rays Find Right Price For Ace Before Trade Deadline?
Price enters Tuesday's tilt with a string of four outings of eight innings or more, and a 7-start streak of at least seven frames. A lack of offense -- and in one case, defense -- was behind Tampa Bay's 2-3 record in Price's five June assignments despite his 2.27 ERA. The former Vanderbilt star lost a shutout bid with two outs to go last Wednesday vs. Pittsburgh, Andrew McCutchen's solo blast ruining it.

The Yankees knocked him around at Tropicana Field in April, Price allowing 10 hits and six runs in his five innings. He avenged that defeat two weeks later at Yankee Stadium with seven innings of 2-run baseball, striking out eight along the way.

Kuroda saw his record level out with a fifth win last Wednesday in Toronto, the 39-year-old working into the seventh and allowing three runs in a 5-3 Yankees victory. That was New York's second straight win behind Kuroda after his first three June starts went into the loss column. Since joining the Yanks in 2012, Kuroda has split his two home starts vs. Tampa Bay with a 6.94 ERA.

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Alfonso Marquez got a late start on his umpiring schedule, and his first five plate assignments of the season never made it to the total.  That run ended last Saturday in Philadelphia where a Braves-Phillies clash easily got 'over' an 8 run mark thanks to Atlanta's bats, and the 10-3 final left home underdogs 1-3 with Marquez behind the dish.

The weatherman is sending out a repeat forecast for Game 2, the only real difference being a few degrees warmer at first pitch. And like Monday's matchup, a south wind in the 10-15 mph range is expected (right to left).

Price is definitely on a roll right now, but that hasn't necessarily translated into wins for the Rays. So instead, let's roll with the 'under' for our free MLB pick on Tuesday.

MLB Pick: Rays-Yankees Under 7.5 (-115)

Season: 79-78 (+1.55)


30th June
Rays vs. Yankees Game 1

By: Willie Bee


It would take a minor miracle for the Tampa Bay Rays to push their way into the American League playoff picture. Joe Maddon's outfit sits at the very bottom of the league, a spot that has been owned by the Houston Astros the past few years, but they're still a dangerous bunch and very capable of pulling off that minor miracle.

For now, however, Tampa Bay must be content with playing the spoiler role, and there's no team the Rays would like to spoil more than the New York Yankees. The division rivals spend the next three days in the Bronx with Monday's opener on ESPN's broadcast schedule at 7 PM (ET).

Game 1 finds the Yankees small favorites with David Phelps on the mound. Tampa Bay counters with Chris Archer who has owned New York in the past, and an 8 run total priced to the 'over' is showing up on SBR's live MLB odds.

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Rays Start Road Trip With 3 Wins In Baltimore
As bad as Tampa Bay (35-49, -27.0 units, 41-40-3 O/U/P) has been in 2014, the Rays are still just 10 games out in the AL East. They've actually been playing pretty well the past three weeks with an 11-7 record after taking three of four in Baltimore last weekend, and will continue a long trip in Detroit over the holiday weekend.

New York (41-39, -2.3 units, 36-44 O/U) reaches the midway point of its 2014 baseball betting schedule with Monday's matchup, and the Yankees hope this series goes better than the one they just wrapped up against the Red Sox. Joe Girardi's gang dropped the final two games of that set, but didn't lose ground in the division as the Blue Jays just lost three straight to the White Sox.

The third series meeting between the two this season finds the Yankees owning a 168-114 (.596) all-time record vs. Tampa Bay. But like a lot of series involving the Rays, that domination has been slowed the past 5-6 campaigns with Tampa Bay 4-3 so far in 2014.

The first 91 games played between the two in the Big Apple went to the Yanks by better than a 2:1 margin (65-26), but since new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009 years, New York is a more modest 26-23. Three of the four clashes during April's series in the Bronx went past the totals, those numbers running 5-4-1 O/U/P in 2013.

Can Archer Continue Dominance Of Yankees?
Archer owns a sparkling 1.80 ERA in five June outings, yet the Rays are in such a sorry state and managed to win just one of them. The 25-year-old didn't have his best stuff last Tuesday in a 6-5 loss to the Pirates at home (7 IP, 4 ER), but did at least extend his streak to eight starts without allowing a home run and has surrendered just three on the season.

The Yankees have never hit a homer off Archer in four career tries, nor did they win any of those games. Archer beat New York in St. Pete on April 19, getting plenty of help from his lineup in a 16-1 rout. That leaves him 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA against the pinstripe posse.

Phelps didn't get the loss this past Tuesday when the Yankees met the Blue Jays in Toronto, but he also didn't do much to keep them from an eventual 7-6 loss. New York's bullpen generally gets an early call with Phelps only making it through 6+ innings in half of his 10 assignments. He saw the Rays twice as a reliever in April, and is 2-0 in four career starts vs. Tampa Bay, a 2.70 ERA logged in those 22.1 IP.

There is the potential for a stray shower popping up tonight in the Bronx, with the weatherman listing a 20% chance from late-afternoon on, but the game should not be threatened.  A muggy 77º is expected to be the thermometer reading at first pitch, with a 10-15 mph south wind (right to left) also in the forecast.

It's difficult not to like Tampa Bay in this one, given Archer's career numbers vs. New York and the recent play by the Rays.  Let's take a chance on the visitors with our Monday free pick.

MLB Pick: Rays +100

Season: 78-77 (+1.55)

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