Yankees vs. Rangers Odds & Pick: Expect New York to Pull Ahead Early (Tuesday, May 18)

Yankees vs. Rangers Odds & Pick: Expect New York to Pull Ahead Early (Tuesday, May 18) article feature image
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Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge celebrate Judge’s dinger on Sunday.

  • The New York Yankees will take on the Texas Rangers in an American League showdown on Tuesday night.
  • Mike Foltynewicz has seen improvement this year, Jeff Hicks still expects the Bronx Bombers to tee off.
  • Check out Hicks' prediction and pick for the game below, along with a full breakdown.

Yankees vs. Rangers Odds

Yankees Odds -150
Rangers Odds +130
Over/Under 8.5 (-118 / -104)
Time 8:05 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via PointsBet.

The Texas Rangers playing as a .500 team was fun while it lasted. Honestly, the Rangers and New York Yankees have had surprising openings to the 2021 season for different reasons. The Yankees are pitching lights-out and not hitting at all to start. The Rangers’ offense is respectable and despite being in last place, Texas is not in as deep of a hole as some other cellar-dwellers.

How will things go on Tuesday in a nationally televised matchup in Arlington, Texas? Let’s see if we can find some betting value.

Aaron Judge Cannot Do It By Himself

Projected starter Jameson Taillon should be better than 1-3 but has been on the wrong end of some hard hit baseballs. The percentage of balls barreled (Barrel%) off Taillon is nearly three times higher than his career mark, and despite a small dip in Hard Hit percentage (Hard%), he is above his career average. Positive regression should come for the 29-year old as his xERA and xFIP are well below his 5.40 ERA. Taillon has also increased his swinging strike rate each of the past three seasons and has the support of a better offense than what he was used to in Pittsburgh.

Speaking of offense, the Yankees’ bats have awaken some of late but still lack all of their reinforcements. Giancarlo Stanton joined Aaron Hicks and Rougned Odor on the IL, and the Yankees are still without Gleyber Torres. Hicks and Torres have been integral in the Yankees’ success at times the past few seasons, and Stanton is one of the most powerful hitters in baseball.

Aaron Judge has picked up the home run load in the Bronx, but one batter does not constitute an offense. With the recent scoring surge, New York is now league average in terms of Offensive WAR and wRC+ and have oddly been better away from Yankee Stadium.

As a team, the Yankees are top 10 in Hard%, Home Run-to-Flyball ratio, walk percentage, OPS, and wRC+ on the road against righties. They also are one of the better teams at not striking out and limiting soft contact.

All of this will be handy against Texas.

A Return To Relevance For Folty

The Rangers offense has been good! Good as in relative to what offense has been this season, but still good! Texas is a vanilla offense that falls in the middle of the pack in nearly every offensive category overall. The Rangers do excel in hard contact and as a microcosm of their offensive shortcomings, hitting the ball on the ground. It is a theme that has carried into home games against right-handed pitching.

Mike Foltynewicz’s 2018 is the exception and not the rule for the 29-year-old’s career. It is great to see him healthy and in a better space and pitching near replacement level considering his recent hardships in baseball. The statistics do not show it, but Foltynewicz has added (or has returned) velocity to his five-pitch arsenal. He has also relied on his four-seam fastball more than his sinker, a pitch that has ties to his bad 2019-20 output.

The revival of the four-seamer with his off-speed pitches has led to a return of swing-and-miss stuff, as well as an improvement of getting hitters to chase pitches outside the zone. Folty may never pitch like it is 2018 again, but the return of his control can be enough to stymy the Jekyll and Hyde Yankees offense.

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Yankees-Rangers Pick

The Rangers have to find a way to score on Taillon, because the Yankees’ bullpen is one of the best in any situation. Foltynewicz also has to keep the ball in the park, something his has done in two of eight starts (2.20 HR/9). I like the Yankees to win, but not with that much juice.

This leads me to the Yankees leading by 0.5 runs after three innings. Their five-run team total would be more interesting with the hook despite covering that total three times this weekend. New York -0.5 after three at +100 is realistic, especially with the way Judge is swinging the bat.

Taillon’s positive regression is also in play with this pick. He has a slash line against of .169/.222/.305 the first time through the batting order. Foltynewicz is not as good in the first go-round, with a slash line against of .262/.324/.446.

Pick: Yankees -0.5 Runs (First Three Innings, play to -115)

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