Tampa Bay is in a great position to sweep New York in the Sunday 9/4 Yankees at Rays matchup which would close the gap to just three games in the AL East. That would have seemed like the most unlikeliest of stories prior to the All-Star break when New York was 64-28 and had a 15.5 game lead in the division.
The Rays have been the dominant team this weekend, winning 9-0 on Friday as -123 favorites in a loss Yankees manager Aaron Boone simply called, “embarrassing.” Tampa Bay made it two in a row on Saturday, escaping with a 2-1 win as -128 favorites. Despite the success oddsmakers like New York to salvage one on Sunday, listing the Yankees as -122 favorites.
New York Offense in Shambles
The Yankees have dropped the first two of their three game set in St. Petersburg, but their problems started before that by only managing a split of a four game series against last place Oakland and then losing two of three to the Angels on the West Coast. New York has a seven game home stand after the 9/4 Yankees at Rays game wraps up, but how much damage will have already been done?
New York simply has no offense right now, as evidenced by them being held to 3 runs or less in 7 of the last 8. Aaron Judge had two of the three New York hits on Saturday, including their lone run with a solo HR (52nd of the season) in the top of the 9th. Otherwise the Yankees had been shut out the first 17 innings of their series this weekend.
New York may find some more offensive success on Sunday with the Rays using an opener, but how many runs will be enough with Frankie Montas on the mound for the Yankees? Montas has allowed 4+ ER in three of his five starts since being traded from Oakland, and has a 7.01 ERA since joining the club.
Rays Ready to Pounce
It’s been a tale of two offenses so far this weekend for the Rays, who belted out 11 hits en route to the 9-0 win on Friday and then got just barely enough with a Yandy Diaz two-run single in the 3rd to hold on for the 2-1 win on Saturday.
The Rays aren’t just beating up on a struggling divisional foe, they are red hot overall with five straight wins and a 16-4 mark over their last 20. With a win in the 9/4 Yankees at Rays matchup Tampa Bay would pull even in the season series 8-8.
TB will go with an opener Shawn Armstrong (2-1, 4.72 ERA) on Sunday before turning the ball over to Ryan Yarbrough (1-8, 4.87 ERA). Yarbrough gave up 5 ER in Boston in his last appearance but did hold New York scoreless over 4.0 on August 15th, a 4-0 Rays win as +204 underdogs against Gerrit Cole.
Free 9/4 Yankees at Rays Betting Pick
A slight 52% of the betting public is on Tampa Bay for Sunday’s series finale. The Yankees are on getaway day and likely ready to get back home after a long trip to the West Coast and then a visit to Florida. TB has an opener on the mound, but Montas had a rough August and doesn’t justify a New York play at all.
Free Pick: Rays +104