Yankees vs. Rays Odds, Preview, Prediction: Will Gerrit Cole Pitch New York to Sweep in Tampa Bay? (Thursday, July 29)

Yankees vs. Rays Odds, Preview, Prediction: Will Gerrit Cole Pitch New York to Sweep in Tampa Bay? (Thursday, July 29) article feature image
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Winslow Townson/Getty Images. Pictured: Gerrit Cole

Yankees vs. Rays Odds

Yankees Odds -140
Rays Odds +120
Over/Under 7.5
Time 1:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings.

Both the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees are looking up at the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings. If they can’t catch Boston, they will likely be battling each other for a Wild Card spot and both teams have made recent moves to add a power bat to their lineup.

Tampa Bay went out and acquired Nelson Cruz from Minnesota last Thursday. Last night, it was reported that the Yankees traded for left-handed slugger Joey Gallo from the Rangers. The two have combined for 46 home runs this season, now joining the AL East.

In the last 10 games, the Yankees have gone 7-3 and are 2.5 games out of a wild card position. New York took the first two games of this series in Tampa Bay, including a 3-1 win in 10 innings on Wednesday night.

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New York Yankees

The Yankees will turn to their ace and Cy Young favorite Gerrit Cole (RHP) to secure the series sweep on Thursday. Now despite Cole being named to his third consecutive All-Star game, there are two ways you could look at his season.

A glass-half-full person would say that Cole is 10-5 this season, has the third most wins in the league and has an excellent 2.74 ERA and 2.81 FIP. He leads the league in strikeouts and ranks in the top 10% of the league in xERA, xwOBA, Chase Rate and BB%.

Now if you’re a glass-half-empty person, you would point to Cole’s drop off during the season. Since June 1, Cole is just 4-3 and has an ERA of 3.98 and a FIP of 4.18. His K/9 rate is 11.43 (12.35 before June) and HR/9 is up to 1.82 (from 0.64).

It is easy to point to the crackdown on sticky stuff as the cause for this drop off and production, but Cole has shown signs of being dominant even since the crackdown. On July 10, Cole had the best outing of his season, allowing just three hits and racking up 12 strikeouts in a complete-game shutout. He followed that up by allowing just one run with 11 strikeouts over six innings against Boston.

I think the answer likely lies somewhere in the middle. He might not be as dominant as he was at the start of the season, but he is still clearly an elite pitcher and one of the best in the game.

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Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge.

It has been an underwhelming season for the Yankees on offense this year, but also pretty unlucky. New York ranks just 13th in the league in wOBA this year, however they are fifth in the league in xwOBA.

The Yankees got the welcomed return of Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela to the lineup on Tuesday for the first time since the All-Star break. Judge has been terrific this year, batting .282 with a .895 OPS and 21 home runs. He leads the team in runs, home runs, RBIs and walks.

Tampa Bay Rays

Luis Patino (RHP) will get another spot start on Thursday and the last couple opportunities have not gone great for the 21-year-old. Patino has made seven appearances this season, five of them starts, and has a 5.26 ERA. In his five starts his ERA is 6.10 and he has allowed at least four runs in three straight outings.

Patino began the season as Tampa Bay’s No. 2 prospect and has a 3.07 ERA in seven Triple-A starts this season. With Rich Hill being traded to the Mets last week, Patino could find himself holding a spot in the rotation for the rest of the season – or at least until Chris Archer and Tyler Glasnow return.

The Rays have been working to stretch Patino out more recently, he has pitched into the sixth inning in each of his last two starts, but has yet to complete that sixth frame. Patino throws his fastball in the high 90s and has really improved his slider with the taxi squad.

Patino faced the Yankees back in May and suffered a loss despite a solid outing. He went four innings and allowed two runs, although the only earned run of the outing came via a Judge homer.

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Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Wander Franco.

The Rays have been just average offensively, but that is usually enough with their pitching. They rank 14th in wOBA and eighth in wRC+. The struggle for Tampa has been making contact, as the Rays lead the league in strikeouts this season.

There isn’t any standout superstar on this offense, but they have a deep lineup of above average hitters. After a slow start to the season, Brandon Lowe has really gotten going lately. Since the All-Star break he is batting .342 with a .994 OPS.

Yankees-Rays Pick

While I am not overly worried about Cole in the long run, and I still believe he is one of the best pitchers in the game, he is clearly not as infallible as he looked early in the season.

Cole will be facing the Rays for the fourth time already this season and he has had some struggles with them in the past. In 10 career starts vs. Tampa Bay he is just 1-5 with a 3.82 ERA.

While Tampa Bay’s offense has really struggled against lefties this season but has been solid against right-handers. They rank 10th in the league in wOBA and sixth in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.

The Yankees offense is capable of putting runs up on anybody, especially a struggling rookie like Patino. Over the last two weeks, the Bronx Bombers rank ninth in wOBA and eighth in wRC+. Judge is back in the lineup and DJ LeMahieu has gotten on-base in 37 straight games, the longest streak in the league since 2018.

I think there is value on the over 7.5 in this game and would play it to -115.

Pick: Over 7.5 (-110)

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