MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions for Yankees vs. Rays: Will Nestor Cortes Contain Tampa’s Offense?
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Nestor Cortes
- The Yankees are big road favorites tonight against the Rays.
- New York sends newfound ace Nestor Cortes to the mound, while Tampa will have a bullpen game led off by Jalen Beeks.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Yankees vs. Rays Odds
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
Tampa Bay has won the American League East in each of the last two seasons, but find themselves in third place and 14 games out of first place entering Tuesday. They are just 2-8 it their last 10 games, including a three game sweep at the hands of the Yankees just last week.
Speaking of the Yankees, they are playing like one of the greatest teams of all time and have been historically good. At 50-17, they are on pace to win 121 games, which would be the most in the history of baseball. New York’s .746 winning percentage would be the best since 1906.
Since the start of June, the Yankees have lost just two games and have won four straight against Tampa Bay. They are 6-2 against the Rays this season and after Gerrit Cole took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Monday night, they will now turn to their best pitcher on Tuesday.
Nothing Stopping Yankees Right Now
If the playoffs started today, the Yankees would have to start Nestor Cortes in Game 1, right? Cortes is 6-2 through 12 starts with a 1.94 ERA, fourth best in the league. New York is 9-3 in his starts this season. He has allowed more than two runs just twice all year.
This success is no fluke for Cortes. His 2.35 xERA is the best in the entire league. He ranks in the top 5% of the league in xwOBA and xBA. He flawlessly mixes his fastball and cutter and both of them have been nearly unhittable. His career has really taken off since he developed that cutter last season.
It is no surprise that the Bronx Bombers lead all teams in home runs with 10+ long balls more than the next team. They have a .335 wOBA and 122 wRC+, both of which lead the league. Their biggest improvement for the Yankees has been improving their swing and miss rate. New York has the 11th lowest strikeout rate in baseball.
Aaron Judge is sure making himself a lot of money. He leads the league with 25 home runs and has a 1.027 OPS. Judge is batting over .300 and ranks top five in wOBA and wRC+. Most importantly, he has the lowest strikeout rate of his career.
Rays Leaning on Bullpen
The Rays will deploy a bullpen game on Tuesday, and per usual, they are led by their pitching staff. The Rays pitchers rank fourth in the league in ERA and eight in xFIP. They have the fourth highest K-BB%.
The injury bug has hit Tampa Bay hard at the moment. It is currently without Wander Franco, Mike Zunino, Brandon Lowe, and Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot both left Monday’s game with injuries. Even when the Rays are healthy, they have ranked just 26th in wOBA.
Ji-Man Choi has been the Rays’ best hitter on the year, sitting with a 154 wRC+. He has been red-hot over the last two weeks, sitting ninth in the league with 204 wRC+. However, he has started just one game against a left-handed pitcher and might not be in the lineup.
Tampa’s bullpen game will lead off with Jalen Beeks, with has a 1.29 ERA in 28 innings this season. He’s opened for the Rays twice so far, including last week against these same Yankees when he pitched two scoreless, hitless innings with one strikeout.
In two starts against the Rays this season, Cortes is 2-0 and has allowed two runs in 13 1/3 innings. Tampa Bay’s roster has just a .189 xBA and .257 xwOBA against Cortes. In his career, Cortes’s team is 4-1 in his starts against the Rays and has never lost at Tropicana Field.
Since the beginning of June, New York’s offense ranks second in wOBA, while Tampa Bay sits at 24th. The Rays have been decimated by injuries are will be missing at five of their regular bats in the lineup.
New York has the clear advantage here in starting pitcher, bullpen and lineup. The Yankees are playing with a ton of confidence right now and should have no problem against a depleted Tampa Bay lineup.
Pick: Yankees run line -1.5 (+105)