MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees (Wednesday, Sept. 2)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Aroldis Chapman and the New York Yankees.
- The New York Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The Yankees are the favorite at -129 and the total is set at 9.
- Michael Arinze thinks New York has the betting edge on the mound, with lefty Jordan Montgomery starting against veteran right-hander Charlie Morton.
- Check out Arinze's full preview for Yankees vs. Rays below.
Rays vs. Yankees Betting Odds
|Rays Odds||+108 [Bet Now]|
|Yankees Odds||-129 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||9 (+100/-120) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||7:05 p.m. ET|
Finally, this series between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees has some juice to it heading into the finale on Wednesday. And all it took was an Aroldis Chapman 100-mph fastball to be hurled near the head of Rays pinch hitter Mike Brosseau on Tuesday.
Luckily, Brosseau was able to duck his head out just in time. He would later strike out before having some choice words for the Yankees’ dugout, which prompted both benches to come out onto the field. But the message was already sent and delivered — that the big, bad Yankees won’t be pushed around.
New York ended up winning 5-3, snapping a six-game losing streak against Tampa Bay. This was only the second win in nine games for the Yankees versus the Rays this season, and it showed they’re not ready to throw up the white flag just yet.
New York will go for the series win Wednesday night and hand the ball to Jordan Montgomery, who will be opposed by Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton. The Yankees will be keen to grab the early lead, particularly if Morton lacks some sharpness early on. This will be his first start in three weeks after being sidelined with shoulder inflammation.
Tampa Bay Rays
Morton is 1-1 on the season with a 5.40 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Batters are hitting .296 against the right-hander, and they haven’t had that much success since they hit .295 against him in 2012 when he was member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Batters are also making contact (77.1%) with his pitches at their highest rate since 2015. While his 4.53 FIP — which is lower than his ERA — suggests he’s been a bit unlucky this season, the truth is that Morton’s fastball is two mph slower than it was last year. Hard hit balls are up 20%, and his GB/FB ratio has also seen a 50% decline from the previous season, with hard hit balls also up 20%.
Hitters are simply seeing the ball well against Morton. His control is still intact though, as he’s only walking 2.16 hitters per nine innings. But there is still definitely more than enough reason for concern here with Morton. It will be key to monitor if he’s able to regain the zip on his fastball after his return from the injured list.
New York Yankees
The Yankees will hope Montgomery can lead them to a series win against the Rays. He pitched well against the Mets in his last outing, going five innings and departing with a 4-1 lead, only to have the bullpen give up five runs in the very next inning en route a 6-4 loss.
This season, Montgomery is 2-1 with a 4.44 ERA, but his WHIP is just 1.07. His 3.72 FIP suggests he’s pitched better than his ERA shows. Batters are only hitting .242 against him, and on balls in play, they’re below .300 at .278. The southpaw is allowing just over one home run every nine innings and has a 2.73 BB/9 ratio. These stats certainly aren’t terrible, but if he can issue one less walk per game and cut down his home runs per game by half, he could see a real jump in his numbers. New York has yet to lose consecutive games in his starts, and he’ll be facing a Tampa Bay lineup that has fared far better against righties (.251 BAA) than lefties (.233 BAA).
The intensity in this series went up a few notches with Chapman’s errant fastball that almost plunked Brosseau. The Yankees have looked listless against the Rays for much of this season, and this provocation could be just the thing that gets them going.
I’m not sure what Tampa Bay gets out of Morton. I would expect he’ll be on a pitch count, so New York should look to get to work on him early, especially if his time on the IL did little to help him regain the velocity he lost on his fastball.
As for Montgomery, his predictive numbers point to an improvement in runs allowed. While Rays hitters only have 18 at-bats against him, their slash line is just .167 BAA / .211 OBP / .167 SLG. That bodes well when considering their poor hitting against lefties this year.
This game quite simply means more to the Yankees than their opponent, who has already won the season series. DraftKings is offering New York at -129, and that’s good enough to get me to the window. I’ll risk a half-unit and take the Yankees to make it two in a row in the Bronx.
Yankees ML -129 (Play up to -135)
Risking 1/2 unit