The New York Yankees welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Yankee Stadium for a 4th of July weekend series. The 4th of July just so happens to land on a Saturday this year, so it adds to the festivities. However, I am sure some people can’t be too happy, as they don’t get to take advantage of a day off from work due to the holiday. Regardless, party holidays like the 4th of July and New Year’s always seem to have more of a punch on the weekends. Check the room rates for Vegas this weekend if you need more clarification. In any case, nothing says America like baseball and the 4th of July, but before we get to tomorrow let’s take a look at the menu for the start of the holiday weekend. Tonight I am serving up the Yankees and Rays, as a couple of quality pitchers look to rebound after shaky last starts their last time out. Chris Archer is one of the best young pitchers the major league has to offer, and Masahiro Tanaka has the potential to be a special player for the Yankees. He went on a big run after returning from injury this season, but it was been upended in his last two outings. He’ll look to respond against the Rays tonight at home.
Max Scherzer did about all he could last night, but it wasn’t enough for the Washington Nationals. Manuel Banuelos was impressive in his first ever start, striking out seven and allowing only 1 run to the Nats. Nothing can be said about the Nationals’ pitching, but the offense was constantly looking lost at the plate. The game was capped off with a 9th inning walk-off from Cameron Maybin, or was it? To me it looked like that ball was chopped foul. The umpire had his head turned to the play and he somehow was able to make a call on that play? Get out of here. Who knows what would have happened if it was deemed a foul ball. Moving to tonight though, where we look to get the 4th of July weekend started off with a winning pick on the diamond.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. N.Y. Yankees
Chris Archer (9-5, 2.31 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (4-3, 3.88 ERA)
If Tanaka puts up a dud tonight there might be something wrong with him physically. He put together five starts in a row in which he didn’t allow more than 2 runs, including four in a row where he went 0, 1, 1, and 1 run allowed. After that he had a couple of starts that went straight in the toilet. 5 runs allowed against the Tigers and 6 against the Astros isn’t what the Yankees were expecting after he was so hot. Is Tanaka up for a third straight bad start? Against a Rays’ offense which isn’t the most potent, I would be surprised if he doesn’t have a big bounce back performance Friday night.
Tanaka isn’t the only pitcher that has run into recent troubles. Archer is coming off his worst start of the season, as he surrendered 5 runs against the Red Sox. But with a 2.31 ERA, Archer still has some impressive numbers. To go along with his 2.31 ERA, he holds a 0.95 WHIP and .249 OBA. On the road he has been dynamite, posting a 1.57 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. I’m expecting big games from both of these guys coming off poor starts. They are much better than what those games indicated. Like I said, if Tanaka is off again, it may be an injury problem. We’re going to assume that the Yankees know what they’re doing and are sending out their ace in a healthy state. Let’s play the UNDER 7.
PICK: UNDER 7 RUNS (-110)