Weekend Series Preview: Can the Yankees Survive the Weekend Against the Rays?

Aaron Judge New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays
Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees steals second base against Isaac Paredes #17 of the Tampa Bay Rays. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP.

The New York Yankees have choked away a massive lead in the AL East. Now they’ll face the Tampa Bay Rays, who crawling up the standings.

Let’s see what the MLB odds tell us at the top US-licensed sportsbooks!

What You Should Know

The Tampa Bay Rays have made up a lot of ground in the AL East. For a while, the Rays were over a dozen of games out of first place. When writing this, the Rays are under five games out of first against in the AL East.

This weekend, the Rays will take on the Yankees on the road. This series could change everything. If the Rays win the series, they’ll be even closer to the Yankees for the AL East with enough games remaining to catch up.

For the Yankees, this would be a ridiculous and awful collapse. It started as a joke, but now a collapse in the AL East is possible after all.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees

Friday, September 9, 2022 – 07:10 PM EDT at Yankee Stadium

Friday’s Probables

In the series’ first game, the Yankees will pitch Frankie Montas, who will go up against former Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber.

New York Yankees

Montas has looked better lately. He’s holding a 4.16 xFIP in the last 30 days and has limited walks to 5.1%. He’s also induced over 46% of ground balls during that time frame and continues to keep hard contact down.

Montas has struggled a bit against lefties but has been dominant against righties.

Tampa Bay Rays

Kluber has had a 4.61 xFIP in the last 30 days. His strikeouts have been low along with his ground ball rate. However, he’s allowed under 20% of line drives and continues to keep walks down.

Kluber has been allowing a high amount of power to both sides, however, which is something to think about when he faces Aaron Judge.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees

Saturday, September 10, 2022 – 01:05 PM EDT at Yankee Stadium

Saturday’s Probables

New York Yankees

In the second game of the series, Jameson Taillon will get the call. The right-hander has a 4.51 xFIP with low strikeouts. However, he’s also getting a high ground ball rate and limiting walks.

Batters have just 17.8% of line drives against Taillon when the ball is put into play in the last 30 days.

He’s struggled more against righties in the last 30 days but has performed against lefties over the last month.

Tampa Bay Rays

We’ll see Ryan Yarbrough for the bulk of Saturday’s game. He has a 3.80 xFIP with 23.8% of strikeouts. He’s also walked 7.1% of batters and has induced over 49% of ground balls.

The lefty is allowing more righties to get on base, which will benefit New York, knowing most of their lineup is right-handed.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees

Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 01:35 PM EDT at Yankee Stadium

Sunday’s Probables

New York Yankees

If the series is tied at one going into Sunday, the Yankees will be feeling good. Gerrit Cole will take the hill for the Yankees. He has a 4.01 xFIP but also has 26.8% of strikeouts in the last 30 days. Like his teammates, Cole has kept walks down and has limited line drives to 13.1%.

Cole has been the most consistent pitcher for the Yankees this season. He’s had some random hiccups, but most of the time has been brilliant.

Tampa Bay Rays

Lastly, Luis Patino will take the hill for the Rays. He’s got an xFIP of 5.62 and is easily the weakest link for the Rays. He’s walked 10.9% of batters while also striking out just 17.4% of batters.

That won’t cut it against Cole.

The Offenses

New York Yankees

The Yankees will face two righties and a lefty in the middle of the series. Anthony Rizzo has elected to go to the injured list. Now the Yankees are really limited offensively.

Against righties, the Yankees have an ISO of .099 with a wOBA of .242. Only Aaron Judge has been hot against righties in that time frame. It’s been embarrassing for this New York squad. They can’t even get on base. Not a single player in the lineup has a wOBA of above .300 other than Judge.

Against lefties, the Yankees have more potential. Josh Donaldson has been helpful along with Judge and Isiah Kiner-Falefa has also done well getting on base with a wOBA of .362.

The Yankees probably have a better chance at winning on Saturday, and if they can still one with Cole or Montes on the mound, New York could win the series.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays, on the other hand, will be facing three righties. Trevor Story has been hot against righties along with Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts. Rafael Devers always finds success against the Yankees too.

We’ll also likely see Dauris Cordero in the lineup as he’s hitting a .375 ISO through his last 27 plate appearances.

Rays vs. Yankees: Game Prediction

Ultimately, the Yankees have the better pitchers while the Rays have the better hitters in this series. I’ve always said pitching beats hitting.

With your MLB picks in mind, I like the Yankees to win the series, at home, against the Rays, to hold their ground in first place.

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