Yanks Continue South After Philly Split to Tampa’s House of Horrors
The 5-7 Tampa Rays enter tonight’s series opener with the Yankees as a team going in the wrong direction. In 2019, the Rays caught MLB sleeping on them and unexpectedly posted over 90 wins. So far in 2020, they’ve dropped 6 of their last 7 games, but only one at home.
Tonight begins a stretch of 21 games for Tampa against AL East division opponents, including 7 against the Yankees.
DRAFTKINGS CONTEST : Lineup tips and player salaries are for today’s MLB Showdown $500 Quarter Jukebox contest starting at 6:40pm EST, 3:40pm PT
TV / RADIO : TV: YES, Radio: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280; Tampa TV: Fox Sports Sun; Radio: WDAE 620AM/95.3 FM
THE WISE GUYS : The oddsmakers are split on tonight’s contest. The consensus moneyline is New York +1.5 (-207), Tampa -1.5 (+177) with an Over/Under of 8.5.
FAST FACTS :
- Tampa’s pitching staff has an ERA of 3.63, 9th best in MLB. The Yankees are 14th at 4.32.
- The Rays are dead last in MLB in runs scored in the first inning. Take that prop bet with confidence!
- Tampa hitters strike out at a higher clip than the Yankees — 9.42/game to 8.45.
BALLPARK CONDITIONS : The temperature should be a pleasant 72° inside Tropicana Field, a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida with horrible lighting and Little League ground rules (see ground rules here).
PITCHING MATCHUP : The Yankees will not be seeing Tampa’s numero uno starter at full strength. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell (0-0, 5.40 ERA, WHIP 1.80, $16,200) is on a short leash at the outset after an injury plagued 2019. With a variety of aliments — toe, elbow and ultimately shoulder fatigue shutting him down, last season saw a drop in innings pitched and strikeouts, and a rise in hard hit baseballs and ERA.
His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .495, more than double the .241 of his Cy Young year.
Over his first two starts (Baltimore and Toronto) Snell has logged a total of 5 innings but expected to push it a bit tonight, maybe to 4 innings.
Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 3,38 ERA, HIP 1.88, $13,800) will take the hill for New York, his 19th career start against the Rays, with a mark of 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA. The right-hander has been lights out against Tampa over his last 7 starts, pitching to a 1.29 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 49 innings, including a complete game shutout on July 18, 2019.
Nine of those 18 career starts have come in Tropicana Field where he has posted a 5-3 mark with 4.33 ERA. Tanaka will give up the home run ball even in some of his best outings, and the Rays tend to hit him better at home than in Yankee Stadium.
YANKEES HITTING NOTES : While Snell can give the Bombers fits at times, there is one Yankee already reserving the proverbial limo ride to the ballpark for him tonight, and that is none other than The Kracken — who may just be shaking off the early season rust!
- C Gary Sanchez ($11,400) has only 5 hits in 19 ABs against Snell, but 4 have cleared the outfield fences — plus he’s walked 5 times as Snell seems well aware of the numbers.
- 2b DJ LeMahieu ($8,200) sees Snell well with a .462 BA in 13 ABs.
- OF Aaron Judge ($10,600) is 1-14 (.071) but with 6 BBs.
RAYS HITTING NOTES : This is not a lineup with a lot of household names, but they’re a complete ballclub whom you take lightly at your own peril. The Rays home run leaders are Brandon Lowe ($9,400) and Hunter Renfroe ($7,400) with 2 each, but there are a lot of guys with pop up and down the roster. Being in the same division with the Yankees, one would expect more plate appearances against Tanaka, but only OF Kevin Kiermaier ($6,200) has more than 21.
- C Mike Zunino ($4,000) has taken Tanaka deep twice in 21 ABs, including 6 hits.
INJURED LIST : Yankees on the IL include Aroldis Chapman and Luis Severino (elbow, out for the season) and Tommy Kahnle (forearm, out for the season, Tommy John).
Tampa Rays on the IL include CF Manuel Margot (Bereavement, out indefinitely), C Kevan Smith (COVID-19, 10-day from 08/01), P Yonny Chirinos (Triceps, 10-day from 08/03), and P Colin Poche (elbow, out for the season, Tommy John).
IMPORTANT : Check back after the official lineups have been announced (usually by 2pm EST), and definitely double-check your DraftKings MLB fantasy line at least 15-20 minutes prior to gametime (6:40pm EST/3:40pm PT) to make sure all of your picks are starting. Good luck, and Let’s Go Yankees!
FANTASY BASEBALL STRATEGY TIPS If you’re new to daily fantasy baseball or need a quick refresher course in putting an effective lineup together, don’t miss our “How to get your DraftKings MLB groove back in 2020” article. A short but sweet tutorial on proven strategies to help position you to win some dineros!