Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, 8:10 p.m. ET
- Yankees (CC Sabathia): -170
- Rays (Ryne Stanek): +153
- Over/under: 8
Bet to Watch
Sabathia will be in familiar territory against Tampa Bay’s lineup, as we just saw this matchup on Sunday. While CC did strike out 10 over 7.2 innings, he allowed 10 hits and took the loss.
That marked the only loss for the white-hot Yankees over their past eight games. And after starting the season 9-9, they own a ridiculous 41-13 record since — a full-season pace of 123 wins. Even more impressive, they’ve done so with both Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez underperforming at the plate.
The Yanks aren’t without flaws, as there are still major questions about their rotation outside of Luis Severino. Also, Aroldis Chapman remains their only lefty arm in the bullpen. I fully expect New York to acquire a lefty starter (J.A. Happ?) and a lefty arm in the pen by the deadline.
In regards to the rest of their rotation, Sonny Gray has pitched well recently, but we’re talking about a guy with the 25th highest ERA (4.54) among qualified starters since 2016. Losing lefty Jordan Montgomery for the year really hurts, especially with Masahiro Tanaka on the DL. The Yankees’ rotation now consists of Severino, Gray, two kids and tonight’s starter, Sabathia.
Speaking of Sabathia, his 4-2 record and 3.30 ERA look impressive, but regression looms for the crafty veteran. His 4.39 xFIP suggests he’s pitched over a full run better than his ERA. The man knows how to pitch, but he won’t maintain this level all season.
Tampa will also have a much fresher bullpen tonight. Including their resumed makeup game as part of a double-header in Washington, the Bombers played five games in the last four days. Since the Yankees didn’t get much length from Gray (5.0 innings), rookie Jonathan Loaisiga (3.2 innings) and Severino (5.2 innings), Yankee relievers threw a total of 18.2 innings over the past four days. Chapman pitched in three of those four.
While the Yankees haven’t enjoyed a day off since June 11, the Rays had one yesterday and got strong starts from Blake Snell (7.0 innings) and Nathan Eovaldi (6.0 innings) in the two games prior. They’re perfectly positioned for their patented Stanek + bullpen game.
Hold your nose and side with the value by fading the Yankees, which I anticipate doing plenty in the second half.
The pick: Rays +153