New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview and Odds

Yankees Are In A Bad Place

They’re still well over .500 and are comfortably holding the first Wild Card spot in the American League but the New York Yankees are 6-16 in their last 22 games and are the worst team in baseball during that span. The Tampa Bay Rays, struggling in their own right, will try to take advantage of the Yankees’ misfortune this week as the two division rivals face off in a three-game series. If you’re making Yankees vs Rays picks, the Yankees are very slight -117 moneyline favorites in Tuesday’s opener and are +134 favorites on the runline. The total is eight runs.

New York hasn’t won a series in almost a month and is coming off a rough series loss at home to the hated Boston Red Sox over the weekend.

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Everything has seemed to fall apart for the Yankees at the same time whether it’s the rotation that had been one of baseball’s best all season or the lineup, which doesn’t do much when neither Aaron Judge nor Juan Soto are at the plate. Even the most pessimistic 2024 MLB predictions couldn’t expect this kind of stretch from the Yankees.

2024 has been a much rougher year for the Rays who won 99 games a season ago but have muddled around .500 since late March.

The Texas Rangers just swept them, snapping a five-series winning streak that had temporarily pushed Kevin Cash’s team over .500. That’s the kind of season Tampa Bay has had, one step forward and one step backward.

Yankees logo New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Rays Rays logo

📊 Records: New York Yankees (55-37), Tampa Bay Rays (44-46)
📅 Date, Time: Tuesday, July 9th, 6:50 PM ET
📍 Location: Tropicana Field; Tampa, Florida

Yankees logo Yankees’ Bats Are A Rough Watch

If you’re going based off recent results, it’s hard to make Yankees vs Rays picks because both teams have lost so much as of late. But, the Rays haven’t looked nearly as bad as the Yankees who were shut out on Sunday night and are pretty much only getting production from Judge, Soto and the recently called-up rookie Ben Rice.

Even with Judge and Soto performing at MVP levels, New York’s offense has been boom or bust from day to day.

They also are a very slow team and have the second-fewest stolen bases in baseball so it’s difficult for the Yankees to manufacture runs when they are hitting the ball over the fence.

They’re going on nearly three weeks without a steal, a remarkable stat with the rule-change-encouraging increased prevalence of the running game in today’s MLB.

Don’t let the MLB World Series odds fool you — the Yankees are +600 to win it all — or season-long stats fool you: this Yankees team is in a huge funk and playing the pesky Rays may not be the antidote. New York is still leading the Majors in runs scored, is second in home runs, third in OPS and fourth in on-base percentage yet a lot of those numbers are due to occasional double-digit run explosions and from their hot stretches in April and May.

With Giancarlo Stanton out and the likes of Anthony Volpe, Alex Verdugo, Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu in major slumps, this team is in a bad place.

Rays logo Tampa Bay’s Rotation Gets Boost

The Rays haven’t been a whole lot better than the Yankees, to be completely fair. Tampa Bay has had a disappointing year and hasn’t been particularly good on the mound or at the plate as a few key starting pitchers are out with long-term injuries and star shortstop Wander Franco is still on administrative leave from MLB due to pending sex abuse charges in the Dominican Republic.

Where you stand on Yankees vs Rays picks comes down to whichever team you think is less in the hole at this point.

The good news for the Rays is that they have three of their better starters lined up for this big series. Ryan Pepiot, Zach Eflin, and Shane Baz—making just his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery—are scheduled to pitch against New York’s Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman, and Nestor Cortes Jr. Pepiot and Eflin haven’t been great lately, but Baz’s inclusion back into the rotation gives Tampa Bay some much-needed energy.

As always, the key to beating the Yankees is to make sure that the guys not named Judge or Soto are the ones beating you. They’re both having historic MLB regular seasons and, for much of the last few weeks, they’ve been the only legitimate threats in the entire lineup. So, Tampa Bay needs to do a good job against everyone else in the lineup to limit the damage the two big guys can inflict.

Take Rays Straight-Up

For Tuesday’s opener, bet on the Rays to win as +107 underdogs on the moneyline. Rodón has been hit hard in each of his four starts so the Rays, even with their inconsistent offense, could have a big night. For that reason, the over eight runs (-110) is a good call as well.

For MLB betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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