Rays vs. Yankees Odds, Picks & Predictions: Back the Underdog In Game 4 of This ALDS Matchup

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Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Randy Arozarena

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Rays Odds +120 [BET NOW]
Yankees Odds -140 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 9.5 (+105/-125) [BET NOW]
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET
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The Tampa Bay Rays are one win away from a trip to the American League Championship Series. The Rays have hit seven home runs in their last two games and Randy Arozarena is leading the way with three dingers in this series.

Tampa will go to its stellar bullpen to close out the series, while the Yankees will hand the ball to Jordan Montgomery.

The Yankees are -140 favorites to win Game 4 (check out our updated MLB Odds Page to shop for the best number).


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.


Offensive Matchup

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay’s offense has caught fire in this series, but that shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. The Rays were 10th in the MLB with a .325 wOBA and a 109 wRC+, so the potential for this kind of effort was always there. The fact that they are matching the Yankees’ in-form offense is certainly surprising, though.

Tampa is set up to do more damage in Game 4. The Rays crushed lefties this season, finishing sixth in both wOBA (.343) and wRC+ (115) against southpaws, and they also perform better against off-speed pitches.

Montgomery is a left-hander who relies on off-speed pitches, so the door is open for Tampa’s offense.

New York Yankees

The Yankees have plated 18 runs through the first three games so the offense isn’t the issue.

New York was red-hot over the last month of the regular season, too, as it accumulated a .340 wOBA and 116 wRC+ over that span.

All you need to know about this club is that Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu combined to miss 79 games this season and the Yankees still finished with the fifth-best wOBA in baseball.

Even though the Yankees have been on fire offensively, seeing so many different pitchers out of the Rays bullpen is going to be a challenge in Game 4.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Ryan Thompson vs. Jordan Montgomery

Ryan Thompson, RHP

The Rays are going with a bullpen game and Ryan Thompson is going to lead it off. However, he’s only going to go a max of two innings, so there is no sense in doing a full breakdown of him.

Jordan Montgomery, LHP

2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Jordan Montgomery hasn’t been great in 2020, posting a 5.11 ERA and allowing a 1.66 HR/9 rate. His biggest issue is that he allowed a .329 batting average against his fastball and sinker during the regular season.

Montgomery has had success with his off-speed pitches, though. The southpaw has held hitters to under a .260 wOBA with his curveball and changeup in 2020.

He’ll have an interesting matchup against this Rays lineup that struggles versus fastballs/sinkers, but crushes off-speed pitches. Either way, he’ll need to be on point with his control against this Rays lineup that seemingly can’t stop hitting home runs.

Bullpen Matchup

Tampa Bay has one of the best bullpens in baseball, collectively ranking second in ERA (3.37) and sixth in xFIP (4.16). Nick Anderson and Jalen Beeks have by far been their best two relievers this year posting xFIPs below 3. Anderson has been almost un-hittable, allowing five hits in 16.1 innings. With Tampa going with a bullpen game we will probably see both of those guys in Game 4.

The Yankees bullpen has been a disappointment this year. Their relievers finished with the 16th-best ERA (4.51) and xFIP (4.52) in the league. Those issues have showed up in this series as their bullpen has allowed nine runs in the last two games.

The biggest issue has been New York’s middle relief. Jonathan Holder, Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga all have xFIPs well above 4.75 and have been the Achilles’ heel of the pen this season.

Tampa Bay has the advantage in the bullpen department in this game, so the Yankees had better hope Montgomery can go deep into this game and allow them to skip the middle part of their pen.

Projections and Pick

I think the Rays will be able to power their way past the Yankees and close out the series tonight. The Rays have been terrific against left-handers, so I expect them to put enough pressure on Montgomery to get to a struggling bullpen.

I have the Rays projected as favorites in this game, so I think there is value on them at +120 to close out the series. I would play them down to +104.

The Bet: Rays +120

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