Yesterday when I saw that the Tampa Bay Rays were underdogs against the New York Yankees, it didn’t make any sense to me. The Rays had owned New York this season as they were 7-2 in their nine games, and after a benches-clearing brawl the night before, I expected Tampa Bay to come out fired up and ready to prove themselves.
The fact that Charlie Morton hadn’t pitched in three weeks scared me a little bit, but in my estimation, 50% of Charlie Morton is still much better than 100% of Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery. So, I fired hard of Tampa Bay on what I felt was one of the fishiest lines of the year.
Yeah, we’re scary pic.twitter.com/VGAAduZY22
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 3, 2020
Five hitters into the game, Tampa Bay proved me right, as they indeed came into this game with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove and scored four runs before they even hit the back end of their lineup. The game started out with a double, a homer, a double, and another homer, and before Jordan Montgomery could even break a sweat, he was already out of the game, and the Rays led 4-0.
Morton was a bit rusty as expected and needed 36 pitches to get through the first two innings, and with the comfortable lead, the Rays decided to keep him on a short leash. Tampa Bay played add-on in the fourth, adding another run, and coasted to a 5-2 victory, and we picked up a nice dog money winner. For today’s daily betting pick, we will stay in New York City, but head to Queens, as the New York Mets, host the New York Yankees.
New York Yankees (20-15) at New York Mets (16-21)
The New York Mets host the New York Yankees for a one-game makeup series tonight. These teams have seen a lot of each other recently, as they are trying to make up for games that were postponed earlier in the season when the Mets had a COVID-19 scare. The two NYC teams played five games, with two doubleheaders last week, and will try and sneak in one more game tonight. The Mets had lost five straight games before picking up the win last night against the Baltimore Orioles.
For the Yankees, they are happy to finally not be playing against Tampa Bay, as the Rays have hammered them this season, beating them in eight out of ten games, with all ten of those games coming in the last three weeks. The Yankees took three out of the five games against the Mets last week, and badly need to string some wins together as they are quickly falling out of contention in the American League East Division.
Starting tonight for the Yankees is JA Happ (1-1 4.05 ERA), and for the Mets, it is Robert Gsellman (0-0 5.19 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine and a half runs. The game is an even pick ‘em, with both teams laying -105. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Citi, Field in New York City.
New York Yankees
This New York Yankees team just isn’t the same without the big bats of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. And while I am certain they wouldn’t be struggling as bad as they have been in the last several weeks if those guys were on the field, you have to wonder if the Yankees struggles have been all about the missing players, or more about, the fact that they keep playing a Tampa Bay team that looks like the best team in the American League right now.
New York has played the Rays ten times in their last twenty-three games. They are 2-8 against Tampa Bay. In those other thirteen games? They are 9-4. And that includes four games against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves. On the season, against any team not named Tampa Bay, the Yankees are 18-7.
That is a winning percentage of .720, which is higher than any team in the American League. New York fans will be happy to know that the Rays aren’t on their schedule again this year until, of course, a potential matchup in the American League playoffs that is.
JA Happ (1-1 4.05 ERA)
JA Happ has managed to dodge the Rays this year, and the Yankees are 3-1 in his four starts. He wasn’t very good at all in his first two starts, getting roughed up for eight earned runs in just seven innings of work against the Orioles and the Phillies, but in his last two starts, coming against the Red Sox and these Mets, he has been stellar.
In his last two starts, Happ has pitched a combined thirteen innings and has allowed just one earned run. That includes a gem in his last start against New York, where he pitched into the eighth inning and didn’t allow a single run on just three hits and no walks. Performances like that one are few and far between at this point in his career, but Happ can still be a quality arm for New York if he is at his best.
New York Mets
The New York Mets came into this season with aspirations of being a playoff contender, but with several players opting out of play, and several others missing time to injuries, that just isn’t the case for New York right now. But even the guys they do have on the field, aren’t playing that well, as last year’s rookie sensation Pete Alonso, who set the all-time rookie home run record in 2019, has been struggling.
Alonso is hitting fifty-points lower than last season, at a dismal .209 on the year, and his slugging has fallen off of a cliff, down nearly two hundred points. Alonso already has 40 Ks in just 129 at-bats, which is one of the highest strikeout rates in the National League. The slugger did manage to hit a home run last night, but he is just 4-33 in his last ten games with only two extra-base hits, that is only a .121 batting average.
Robert Gsellman (0-0 5.19 ERA)
Robert Gsellman was thrust into the starting rotation in August when Marcus Stroman officially opted out of play. With no Stroman or Noah Syndergaard all year and Steve Matz recently also being shut down, the Mets just don’t have the bodies right now. That means they are going to have to turn to Gsellman, to eat up innings, and he just hasn’t been able to do that.
Gsellman hadn’t started a game since 2017 before being called to the rotation in early-August, and he just hasn’t been able to give the Mets many quality innings. In his first three starts, he lasted just 5.1 innings combined, with his longest outing being a two inning start against the Washington Nationals where he got thrashed for three earned runs. He did last a bit longer in his last start, coming against the Yankees, as he pitched four innings and managed to give up just one run on four hits.
Who Do I Like?
Look, I get it, the Yankees aren’t playing very well right now. But to see them at even money against the New York Mets is laughable. This Yankees team still has plenty of talent, and the Mets seem to send another player to the IL every day. In just the last week, the Mets have put Tomas Nido, Corey Oswalt, Dellin Betances, Steven Matz, and Eduardo Nunez on the injured list.
The Mets are falling apart at the seams, and even when they had all of their best players healthy, they weren’t very good. Against teams that have a winning record this season, the Mets are just 4-11. I expect them to lose a lot down the stretch of the season as this year is quickly spiraling out of control for New York.
I am not going to let the fact that the Yankees can’t beat the Tampa Bay Rays distract me from the fact that they can beat just about everybody else! The Yankees know that they have to find a way to beat bad teams like the Mets in his game, and I would expect them to get the job done tonight.
Would I rather see a lineup of Stanton, Judge, and Torres than the one the Yankees will play tonight with guys like Mike Tauchman, Tyler Wade, and Mike Ford? Of course, I would. But if you let me choose between the Yankees current lineup and the ragtag group the Mets are going to roll out tonight, I am picking the Yankees every time.
The Yankees are the better overall team, with the better lineup, and the better starter on the mound. At even money, they show absurd value in this one. Give me the New York Yankees at even money tonight from Citi Field!