The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays start a weekend series with New York trying to get itself back in the AL East race.
While New York lost two of three to the Rays last weekend, the team is hopeful that with Aaron Judge back in the lineup, the team can push closer to the best team in baseball through the first month this weekend with a strong performance.
The Yanks will send out Domingo Germán on Thursday night at home after a strong showing against Tampa Bay, who will counter with Drew Rasmussen, who also had an impressive start against the same opponent.
Both pitchers are in good form, but what about the bullpens for each team? Can the Yankees find a way to puncture this Rays pitching staff that has looked unhittable for much of the season?
Let's break down the odds:
Rays vs. Yankees odds, run line and total
Rays vs. Yankees prediction and pick
While Rasmussen has had a big start to the year, posting a 3.11 ERA that is supported by a 2.83 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), I'm more concerned about the Rays bullpen.
The Rays right-hander has made a habit of pitching a limited amount of innings each start. He has pitched six innings or more in two starts this year and hasn't done so since April 9. If he has an abbreviated start, he will be handing the ball to a Rays bullpen that is bottom five in strikeout to walk rate and has been getting a ton of luck once the ball is in play, with an FIP that is more than a run higher than its ERA.
While the Yankees lineup has struggled this season, the team may be finding something after getting Aaron Judge back in the lineup and playing the lowly Athletics, scoring seven or more runs in three straight games.
While the A's are the worst team in baseball, the Yanks lineup has been fairly unlucky overall this season, posting the second-lowest batting average on balls in play at .268. That means once the ball is hit, the Yankees aren't converting it into hits.
That tends to level out over time and the Yankees are striking out at a bottom 10 rate, so they need some better variance on contact.
With a Rays bullpen hungry for regression, I think the Yanks ride the momentum from the last series and take home the series opener in a statement series.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.