After a scare in the first game of the weekend series in Texas, the Yankees found their bats in the final two games and now find themselves 3 games behind the Boston Red Sox for the division lead with 20 games to play. In the Wild Card drama department, their lead is now 4 games for the host slot. Now onto the Tampa Rays.
The Yankees and the Rays have met 12 times so far in 2017, with New York enjoying a 7-5 edge. Here’s where the move to Citi Field plays better into the Yankees’ hand — the home teams have been dominant in the season series. The Yankees are 6-1 at The Stadium and 1-4 at The House of Horrors, aka Tropicana Field.
While not exactly a home game for the Bronx Bombers, it’s close enough — at least they’ll be sleeping in their own beds and enjoying home cooking. And with the last minute ticket availability, the jernt will be overwhelmingly populated with Yankee fans (kinda like The Trop!), but you can bet a few Muts fans will show up to root for Tampa.
Even though Evan Longoria & Company will be rockin’ their home uni’s and get the last ups, it will truly be a road series for the Rays. That said, the games still must be played, and here’s a look at some key matchups.
Monday, September 11, 2017 @ Tampa Rays (kinda)
Key Stats At-A-Glance
Money Line : Rays +127, Yankees -137
Over/Under : 8.5
Line Moves : Late ducats coming in on New York
The Ballpark : Citi Field leans toward being more of a pitcher’s park.
Gametime Weather : 61°, a few clouds, Wind NW 5-10 MPH, 10% chance of rain.
• The Yankees are 4-1 straight up in their last 5 games against Tampa Bay.
• The Over/Under total as gone Under in 6 of the 7 games between these teams.
Jake Odorizzi : The righty is coming off a flirt with a no-hitter in his last start (against the Twins), broken up by a Joe Mauer single in the 7th. The last time Odorizzi started a game with 6 2/3 scoreless was against — you guessed it — the Yankees on July 29th of last season.
Odorizzi makes heavy use of a four-seam fastball and splitter, and will toss in a cutter, slider and slow curve, with his arsenal varying between the low 90s to slightly above 80mph.
While Odorizzi has been in the bigs for 5 years, the only Yankees with 20 or more career ABs against him are Jacoby Ellsbury (8-34, .235), Chase Headley (4-22, .182) and Brett Gardner (6-27. .222 with 1 HR).
He was first drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, traded to the Kansas City Royals in 2010 in a deal that sent him, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, and Lorenzo Cain to the Royals for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt. In 2012, the Royals traded Odorizzi to Tampa along with Mike Montgomery, Patrick Leonard, and Will Myers in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis.
Odorizzi is not a ground ball pitcher, so he will indeed give up the long ball — to the tune of 23 home runs in 18 games in one stretch before the All-Star break. His lack of command has led to a 2-1 walks to strikeout ratio, so if the Yankees are patient they can work themselves into some good hitters counts.
CC Sabathia will be on the bump for New York. In the midst of an excellent season (11-5, 3.91, and a 1.20 WHIP), CC has been lights out after a Yankees loss, but average after a win.
Hitters to Consider (Or Not)
- Aaron Judge ($4,900) : He’s back. And just in time for the September pennant drive. Until further notice, Judge has to be hard-wired into your lineup.
- Gary Sanchez ($4,900) : The Kracken is feelin’ it and although the most expensive option at catcher, it’s worth it.
- Starlin Castro ($4,600) : Look for Castro to get back on track after an 0-6 nightmare in Texas yesterday. While he’s killing it at home, Castro has a .297 BA in 34 at bats at Citi Field.
- Sir Didi Gregorius ($4,400) : Hot as a pistol as of late (going 4-4 in yesterday’s beat-down of the Rangers) and a reliable pick game in and game out. Hits lefties and righties with equal vengeance.
- Evan Longoria ($3,500) : While not putting the power numbers we’re used to, Longoria has had great success against Sabathia over his career — .421 BA, 8 HRs, 1.377 OPS.
THE FINE PRINT : The fantasy lineup suggestions are purely speculation and should not be taken as gospel. Anything can and will happen in a baseball game, but this content is designed to provide a starting point for your lineup research. Best of luck, and let’s go Yankees!