The Yankees are trying to chip away at the Rays massive lead in the AL East, but came up short on Friday night after winning the opening game on Thursday, losing 6-5.
New York will send out left hander Nestor Cortes in hopes of a standout performance against an elite lefty hitting group in Tampa Bay, who counters with a lefty of its own in Shane McClanahan, who has a strong Cy Young case early this season.
Can the Yankees breakthrough against McClanahan? Let's check out the odds and find a best bet for Saturday:
Rays vs. Yankees odds, run line and total
Rays vs. Yankees prediction and pick
The Yankees continue to struggle against lefty pitching, 25th in batting average against southpaws, and that's going to spell trouble against McClanahan, who has a 1.76 ERA through eight starts this season while striking out more than 11 batters per nine innings.
It will be on Nestor Cortes to keep a lid on the Rays offense, and while his ERA is above 4.00 (4.74), his xERA is more than a run lower at 3.46. There is some positive regression coming for Cortes, and this would be quite the spot to get it against a Rays team that is hitting above .300 when facing lefty pitching.
However, the Rays don't generate walks against lefties, about seven percent, and the Yankees are a top 10 defense. I believe the Rays are due for a tough outing against Cortes and a Yankees bullpen that is top five in ERA.
All signs point to the under on Saturday afternoon.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.