MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions | Yankees vs Rays Betting Preview (May 5)

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions | Yankees vs Rays Betting Preview (May 5) article feature image

Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Wander Franco.

  • The Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees in an AL East showdown on Friday night at Tropicana Field.
  • Jhony Brito gets the start for the Yankees, and the odds may not be in his favor against a formidable Rays offense.
  • Continue reading for our Yankees vs. Rays preview and betting picks.

Yankees vs. Rays Odds

Friday, May 5
6:40 p.m. ET
Yankees Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-120 / -102
Rays Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-120 / -102
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

For the first time this season, the startup Tampa Bay Rays take on their powerhouse rivals, the New York Yankees, in an early-season series with a fair amount of juice. The Rays currently sit 4.5 games up on the rest of the division, while the Yankees wallow in last place, but hold a respectable, if not lofty enough for their fans, record of 17-15.

The Rays are 17-2 at home this season, but have notably played a schedule that has been missing the marquee names. In series' against the Blue Jays and Astros — arguably the two toughest teams they have played — they lost two out of three. This will be a chance to prove themselves once again against a team that is a marquee name, at least in theory.

It's a Jhony vs Yonny battle on Friday, as Jhony Brito toes the rubber for the Yanks, while Yonny Chirinos will look to shut down the Bronx Bombers.

The Yankees' injured list is starting to get longer than a Donna Tartt novel, with key names like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson on the position player side, joining names like Carlos Rodon, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas on the pitching side.

For the Rays, the list is far shorter, but there are indeed a few notable arms on the IL (Tyler Glasnow, Jeffrey Springs, Shane Baz) that play a role in why Chirinos will be called upon to make only his second MLB start since 2020.

New York Yankees

Perhaps unsurprisingly given some of the names listed in the IL above, but this has not been a typical Yankees offense in 2023. The club ranks 23rd overall in wRC+ this season (88), but it should be noted they have the lowest BABIP in the league and are due for at least a little regression on that end.

More relevant to this preview, however, is their pitcher on Friday. Brito is a 25-year-old without much prospect pedigree in his debut season, and things are going about how you'd expect given those facts. He has a 5.56 ERA that he seems to have earned just about every bit of, given his 6.35 xERA, 4.47 FIP and 5.23 xFIP. Among the 138 pitchers with at least 20 IP this season, Brito's K-BB% (6.1) ranks 122nd, and his 5.23 xFIP ranks 118th.

The 6-foot-2 righty has good velocity on his fastball, but he's giving up a lot of hard contact, and giving away all those free passes in burning him in the long run.

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Tampa Bay Rays

As a righty with a reliance on a fastball and slider, Brito may be in trouble against these Rays. Here are the Rays ranks against those three categories:

  • Against right-handed pitchers (1st by a solid margin)
  • Against fastballs (1st by a country mile)
  • Against sliders (3rd)

The Rays have a fully healthy lineup this season, and it has been an absolute Death Star. Against righties, they can roll out a lineup where every single batter has a wRC+ of 106 or better (100 is league average), and where over half of the lineup has a wRC+ of 150 of better. Yandy Diaz leading off has the best wRC+ in baseball this season against righties and is perfectly suited to take advantage of Brito's lack on control (15.3 BB% compared to 11.2 K% for Diaz).

As for their starter, Chirinos, he has performed well out of the bullpen this season (0.64 ERA), but a bit of that has been smoke and mirrors in his 14 innings so far. He's more likely right around a league average starter, with an ERA just over 4.00 in most projection systems. He has so few actual MLB innings in the last five years that it is hard to get a real grasp for what to expect.

Yankees vs. Rays Betting Pick

Given the unknown regarding Chirinos, but knowing what a good matchup this is for the Rays against Brito, I want to get my bet as targeted as possible. Not every book has a first five inning team total available (to avoid any bullpen weirdness as well), but DraftKings and PointsBet each have a version of this available.

As such, I will be betting the Rays over 2.5 runs in the first five innings -115 at DraftKings, and Rays over 3.5 runs in the first five innings +165 at PointsBet. I'll split a full unit, 0.6 to the former and 0.4 to the latter.

Pick: Rays first five innings team total over

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