Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on April 16, 2021

The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees simply don’t like each other and it might have replaced Red Sox-Yankees as the most heated rivalry in the AL East for now. Tampa visits Yankee Stadium for the first time this season on Friday with the Bombers favored on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Rays at Yankees MLB Odds & TV Info

Why Bet on Tampa Bay? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis 

Tampa Bay took two of three at home vs. the Yankees last weekend. The Rays had batters hit four times in three games over the weekend — including Austin Meadows being hit twice in one game. The Yankees had two batters hit. This kind of thing has been going on in this series since 2018. Since then, 23 Rays batters have been hit by Yankee pitchers. While the Bombers batters have been hit 16 times.

“Tensions are high,” Yankees slugger Aaron Judge said of the Rays. “We’ve gone back and forth with the Rays. We get hit, they get brushed back. If they get hit, we get brushed back. It’s kind of back and forth, but I think the most important thing is just focusing on the game and let our play do the talking and I think that’s the best outcome for both sides.”

Rays Gold Glove outfielder Kevin Kiermaier took live at-bats on Thursday. If everything continues to go smoothly with his rehab, he could return to the Rays’ active roster sometime early next week. Kiermaier has been on the injured list since April 6 because of a left quad strain.

It likely will be new Rays right-hander Michael Wacha (0-1, 7.00) here. Wacha entered last Sunday’s extra-inning loss to the Yankees in the third inning and allowed three earned runs on three hits and three walks over four frames. He struck out five and did not factor into the decision.

Wacha allowed the Yankees to begin their comeback by serving up a two-run home run to Gio Urshela shortly after entering in the third inning and struggled with control overall. Wacha’s first two regular-season appearances have not looked at all like he did in the spring. Wacha career-long issues with location have surfaced in the form of five walks over his first nine innings, during which he’s also already surrendered 11 hits.

Three of the Tampa Bay’s wins this season have been via shutout. The Rays are one shy of matching their shutout total from the shortened 2020 season (4).

Why Bet on New York? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis 

The Yanks lost two of three at Toronto to open this week – the Blue Jays are playing close to Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field in Dunedin, Fla., this season. New York lost the finale Wednesday 5-4 as Toronto’s Bo Bichette homered twice, including a game-ending drive leading off the ninth inning.

Aaron Judge hit a pair of solo homers in the loss. He appeared to have a third hit in the seventh, but his grounder to the left side of the infield was instead ruled a tough error on Cavan Biggio. Judge has four homers in 10 games this season along with a .282/.364/.590 slash line and seven RBI through 44 plate appearances.

Both reigning AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton got Wednesday off but should start Friday. With a .295/.392/.455 slash line through his first 11 starts, LeMahieu has continued to thrive atop the lineup. Five of his last six hits have gone for extra bases (4 doubles, 1HR) after his first seven hits went for singles. He has reached base in 10 of his 11 games this season, collecting a hit in nine of those games.

Meanwhile, since hitting a grand slam April 5 against the Orioles, Stanton has been stuck in a power drought with only one extra-base hit (a double) in 28 at-bats over his subsequent seven starts.

It should be Michael King (0-0, 0.00) here in a spot start. King dazzled in his only outing this season, pitching six innings of scoreless, one-hit ball out of the bullpen April 4. He was subsequently sent to the team’s alternate site, though he is traveling with the club as part of the taxi squad and should be activated here.

The rotation behind Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was a concern entering the season and the overall numbers of the other starters have been suspect. They have a combined record of 1-4, and have allowed 28 runs and 48 hits over 36 2/3 innings in nine outings. Cole is 2-0 in three starts. He has given up three runs and 12 hits in 18 1/3 innings.

New York has 23 of its last 37 series vs. the Rays, going 65-52 in 117 games since 8/15/14

Expert Prediction

  • Yankees 5, Rays 4

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