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MLB Odds: Rays vs. Yankees prediction, odds and pick – 9/9/2022

Rays, Yankees

The Tampa Bay Rays will begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees as the AL East division race is tighter than ever. It is time to look at our MLB odds series to deliver a Rays-Yankees prediction and pick.

Tampa Bay trailed New York by 13 games at the All-Star break and has sliced the lead significantly since then. The Rays are 8-2 over 10 games and just completed a sweep of the Boston Red Sox. Now, they are 77-58 and just 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East. 

The Yankees are 5-5 over 10 games and just won three of four from the Minnesota Twins. However, their comfort level is low as Tampa Bay remains hot on its trail. These two teams met last weekend, with the Rays taking two of three. Subsequently, this series will be the last time the Yanks and rays face off during the regular season. Of course, there is a significant chance they might see each other in the postseason. 

The Rays will go with Drew Rasmussen on the mound today. Rasmussen is 9-4 with a 2.70 ERA. Recently, he tossed six innings while allowing one earned run on four hits in his last start. Rasmussen is 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA over six starts in August. Also, he has allowed one earned run in five of his six starts. Rasmussen has faced the Yankees once, as he tossed 2 1/3 shutout innings in relief in an appearance against New York on July 28, 2021.

Frankie Montas is on the hill for the Yankees. Montas is 1-2 with a 5.87 ERA over six starts since joining the Yankees. Moreover, he is 5-11 with a 3.79 ERA. Recently, he tossed five shutout innings while allowing one hit with seven strikeouts in a win over Tampa Bay last weekend. 

Here are the Rays-Yankees MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Rays-Yankees Odds

Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+172)

New York Yankees: +1.5 (-210)

Over: 7.5 (-106)

Under: 7.5 (-114)

Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread

The Rays have always had superior pitching. Now, their hitting has caught up. Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz have excelled during the hot stretch and contributed in plenty of ways. 

Arozarena is batting .269 with 19 home runs, 74 RBIs, and 62 runs. Likewise, he is hitting .390 (16 for 41) with two home runs, eight RBIs, and eight runs over 10 games. Despite that, Arozarena has not done well against New York this year. He is batting .130 (7 for 54) with one home run, four RBIs, and three runs over 15 games. Thus, expect him to try and improve upon those statistics. 

Diaz is batting .288 with eight home runs, 51 RBIs, and 64 runs. Additionally, he is hitting .382 (13 for 34) with four RBIs and five runs over 10 games. Diaz has also struggled against the Yankees, batting .231 with 10 RBIs and three runs over 16 games.

The Rays allowed three runs last weekend over three games. Today, they hope to continue that trend and stop the Yankees lineup. Starting pitching will need some help from the bullpen. Moreover, the pitching staff will need to keep the game close.

The Rays will cover the spread if Rasmussen can block the noise and excel at Yankees Stadium. Also, if they can get the bats going against Montas, Tampa Bay covers. 

Why The Yankees Could Cover The Spread

The Yankees will rise and fall with Aaron Judge. However, they need production elsewhere too. New York lost to Minnesota in the finale despite two hits from Judge. Unfortunately, the Yankees left 10 runners stranded on the basepaths. Doing this often does not lead to success. Losing Anthony Rizzo to an injury does not help the Yanks, straining a lineup already starving for production elsewhere. Even in their doubleheader sweep of the Twins on Wednesday, the Yankees still left eight runners stranded in each game. 

It does not help that New York feels like a top-heavy team. When not hitting home runs, they often struggle to drive runners in. The Yankees currently rank 20th in batting average, which is their one statistical problem. They rank fifth in on-base percentage, fourth in runs, first in home runs, and fifth in slugging percentage. Thus, New York has to find a way to consistently hit the ball and not leave too many runners stranded. 

The Yankees will cover the spread if Montas can dominate and the Yankees can drive runners home. Additionally, they must fend off a hot Tampa Bay lineup that is firing on all cylinders. 

Final Rays-Yankees Prediction & Pick

As unlikely as a blowout win is at Yankees Stadium, this is probably the one game where it might happen. The Rays are hot right now, and so is Rasmussen. Montas has been up-and-down since joining the Yankees and does not offer the same confidence his opposition would. Expect the Rays to cover. 

Final Rays-Yankees Prediction & Pick: Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+172)