BOMBERS LOOK TO PAXTON TO SALVAGE SERIES AND ROAD TRIP
Here’s your 10-5, first place in the American League East, New York Yankees: The rotation is in trouble, the offense doesn’t start hitting until it’s too late — if at all, the defense is a liability, the bullpen is on fumes, and the parade to the IL has begun (Kyle Higashioka and Giancarlo Stanton this series). And they’re facing old nemesis Charlie Morton in today’s series finale as the Rays go for the 3-1 kill.
The only upside to this afternoon’s matchup is that the Yankees can put Tropicana Field in the rear view mirror for the remainder of this 60-game sprint, season, whatever you call it. All remaining games on the schedule against the Rays will be played in The Boogie Down, where the pinstripes enjoy much greater success against their division rival.
DRAFTKINGS CONTEST : Lineup tips and player salaries are for the MLB $4K Quarter Jukebox contest starting at 1:05pm EST, 10:05am 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 : For the fourth time in this series, the oddsmakers are favoring New York with a moneyline of New York +119, Tampa -129 (at 11:05 EST), and an Under/Over at 8.5.
FAST FACTS : …
- New York is 1-4 straight up over their last 5 games against the Rays, and 2-4 straight up in their last 6 games overall.
- Over their last 7 meetings, New York is 1-6 straight up against the Rays in Tampa.
- The Yankees are tied with the Dodgers for the MLB team lead in home runs with 27, Tampa is tied with the Marlins for 26th place with 11.
BALLPARK CONDITIONS : Once again, 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 : A Yankees fan in his youth, the Flemington, New Jersey-born and Connecticut-raised Morton was selected in the 3rd round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft (95th overall pick) by the Atlanta Braves. Before signing a free agent contract with the Rays in December of 2018, Morton pitched for the Braves, Pirates, Phillies and Astros.
Morton’s primary pitch is a 93mph four-seam fastball, backed with a deceptive knuckle-curve at 78mph, mixing in a sinker and slider.
Like Paxton, Morton (1-1, 5.52 ERA, WHIP 1.36, $9,100) has experienced some velocity issues early on but unlike Paxton, he seems to be improving with each start. Morton’s last appearance agains the Yankees was on September 26th of last season, when he tossed a 6-inning gem, no-hitting New York for the first 5, en route to a 2-0 Tampa victory. DJ LaMahieu broke up the no-no bid with a single to right in the bottom of the 6th.
For Yankees starter James Paxton (0-1, 13.50 ERA, WHIP 3.25, $8,600) velocity has been an issue all year, spring training and summer camp included. There is no denying the pressure is on today for a quality start from The Big Maple, not only for his own sake but to give the bullpen a breather. More than likely he’ll have to match zeros with Charlie Morton, as this contest looks like a solid ‘under’ wager on paper.
YANKEES HITTING NOTES : Here we go again — start cranking out the 2020 version of ‘Next Man Up‘ tee-shirts, as the Yankees took a significant hit to their lineup yesterday as Giancarlo Stanton appears headed for the 10-day IL. Which is never 10 days. The OF/DH felt something tweak in his left hamstring when running the bases.
- Once again, hard-code 2B DJ LeMahieu ($4,700) into your lineup these days. He is 6-17 (.353 BA) against Morton and basically the only Bronx Bomber with a plan at the plate these days — or so it seems.
- If there’s anyone in pinstripes happy about seeing Morton that would be OF Brett Gardner ($3,600), who sports a 8-20 (.400 BA) mark with 3 home runs and 6 RBI. No stolen bases as he’s been too busy circling them at a leisurely pace.
- C Gary Sanchez ($4,400) is 2-12 (.167) off Morton, and 3-28 (.107) over his last 10 games.
TAMPA HITTING NOTES : The is next to zero data available for Paxton versus this Tampa hitting roster, so let’s see who’s hot and who’s not. Overall, the Rays are not exactly tearing the cover of the ball yet in 2020, although they do have a capable lineup.
- In a small sample size, 3B Yandy Diaz ($3,400) is 3-6 off Paxton. Diaz is hitting .250 (8-32) over his last 10 games.
- 2B Brandon Lowe ($4,300) is leading the team in with a .467 BA against left-handed pitching. Lowe’s DraftKings’ salary increased by $400 since yesterday’s game, just FYI.
- SS Willy Adames ($3,200) also hits lefties well, to a current clip of .357. These are some very budget-friendly salaries, but keep in mind you have a 6-game (12 teams) contest to consider.
INJURED LIST : Yankees on the IL include Aroldis Chapman and Luis Severino (elbow, out for the season), C Kyle Higashioka (right oblique strain, 10-day), Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring, 10-day) 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), P Colin Poche (elbow, out for the season, Tommy John), and P Jose Alvarado (paternity list, out indefinitely).
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 (1:05pm EST/10:05am 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!