Top Weekend Series Preview: The Struggling Yankees Visit Tampa Bay

Josh Donaldson New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays
Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees reacts after a call against the Tampa Bay Rays. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP.

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are both having trouble beating the MLB odds, but someone has to win this series.

Remember when the New York Yankees were the best team in baseball? Yeah, that seems like an eternity ago. They’ve been hot garbage since the All-Star break – aside from that five-game winning streak that teased us into thinking they were back.

The Yankees (78-51, minus-2.78 betting units at press time) are still seven games up on the Tampa Bay Rays (70-57, minus-1.80 units) in the American League East, though. Can they extend their lead this weekend at The Trop? Or will the Rays make this race interesting again?

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Friday, September 2, 2022 – 07:10 PM EDT at Tropicana Field

Friday’s Game Analysis

Pitchers Prediction Affected by Injuries

Both these teams have seen their pitching rotations smacked around of late by injuries, so we’re not even remotely sure what the matchup will be for Game 1 – although there’s a good chance we’ll see Domingo German (4.39 xFIP) take the mound for New York. German is down 2.20 betting units this year on a team record of 3-5.

He’ll need some help Friday night. As if the Yankees bullpen didn’t have enough injury concerns, Aroldis Chapman (4.86 xFIP) went and got a tattoo on his leg that became infected. Where did he get it done, Rikers Island? Chapman was put on the 15-day IL over the weekend. Bless this mess.

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Saturday, September 3, 2022 – 06:10 PM EDT at Tropicana Field

Saturday’s Game Analysis

Game 2 of this series is another big question mark. This time, it’s anyone’s guess who will pitch for the Yankees, but the tea leaves suggest it will be Jeffrey Springs (3.13 xFIP) on the hill for Tampa Bay.

Springs has been a godsend for Tampa, posting 2.0 WAR in his first year as a starter – and he helped the Rays beat the Yankees 3-1 on August 16 as +144 road dogs on the best sportsbooks.

Like many young pitchers these days, Springs hasn’t been asked to go beyond 6 innings this year, and usually gets the hook before that. The Rays only rank No. 14 overall on the bullpen WAR charts at FanGraphs (New York is No. 5), and their relievers have been sideswiped by injuries too, so we’ll see how that dynamic plays out this weekend.

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Sunday, September 4, 2022 – 01:40 PM EDT at Tropicana Field

Sunday’s Game Analysis

Last up, we have Sunday’s matinee, where we just might end up with Frankie Montas (3.45 xFIP) taking the hill for New York, opposite Corey Kluber (3.86 xFIP).

You can bet your bottom dollar Kluber will be fired up for this game after his lone 2021 campaign as a Yankee, which was also cut short by injury.

As for Montas, he’s second last on the MLB money charts at minus-10.11 units on a team record of 7-17, including 2-3 since the Yankees acquired him from the Oakland A’s at the trade deadline. Bet accordingly.