Rays the Right Play in Series Opener at Yankees

Willie Bee

Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:24 AM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018 11:24 AM UTC

AL East foes square off Thursday in the Bronx, and we have a free baseball pick for the first game in a 4-game series between the Yankees and Rays.

Tampa Bay Rays (32-35 SU, 31-33 O/U) at NY Yankees (43-20 SU, 32-29 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Rays MLBest Line Offered: GT Bets

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No team can be swept just by losing the first of a 4-game series, and yet a victory Thursday in New York might be the only way the Tampa Bay Rays avoid being broomed out of the Bronx this weekend by the Yankees.

Tampa Bay definitely has its best arm on the hill for the 7:05 PM (ET) first pitch that can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Blake Snell (8-3, 2.30) gets the call from Rays skipper Kevin Cash, while Aaron Boone sends rookie Domingo German (0-4, 4.52) to the bump. Even with Snell’s numbers topping German’s, Tampa is a sizable underdog at shops like Bookmaker where the Yankees are -165 favorites with 8½ the height of the scoreboard hurdle.

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Bird watching. pic.twitter.com/M0FTjEwg7y

— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 13, 2018

Rays 0-6 When Snell Starts In Bronx

After beginning June with a 7-game losing streak (8 if you count the final game in May), Tampa Bay has won four of five and just finished a homestand by sweeping the Blue Jays. Snell is on a 4-game personal win streak, and it should be five since the lone loss by the Rays in the stretch saw the lefty toss six shutout innings while whiffing 12. The 25-year-old has only suffered two bad starts this season, one of them coming in this park against the Yanks on April 4 (3.1 IP, 5 ER). Snell made his MLB debut here a little more than two years ago, and the Rays have lost all six of his New York outings while he pitched to a 6.54 ERA.

New York fell to the Nationals on Wednesday by a 5-4 count to split that interleague set. German started the year in the bullpen then turned heads with six no-hit, 9K innings in his first start about six weeks ago against the Indians. The young Dominican has cooled considerably since, though, the Yankees somehow found a way to win two of his subsequent five assignments despite German’s 7.33 ERA (27 IP, 6 HR).

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

This is just the second 2018 collision between the AL East rivals, the other a short set in early April that was played in the cold and rain at Yankee Stadium. New York won both and each game went ‘over’ the MLB odds that were 7½-8½. The Yankees won eight of the 10 played here last season while totals ran 4-5-1 O/U/P.

It’s going to be both warmer and drier than when the teams met two months ago, the only part of the forecast we’re concerned with being the wind (15-20 mph NW, out to right). Despite his troubles in this park before, I’m going to back Snell and the Rays with my free baseball pick in the opener.

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