Sometimes you just really nail a pick. That is what happened yesterday when we took the Houston Astros on the run line against the Oakland Athletics. Every metric that I looked at led me to believe that this game was going to be a blowout. When it was 10-0 Houston in just the second inning, my thoughts were confirmed. This is the first time all season long where I took a run line where I had to pay juice. It is not a great spot to gamble and is a big pitfall for a lot of baseball bettors. If you are laying that run and a half, you need to be getting paid out big when it hits.
But this game was basically free money, and to every rule, there is always an exception. You had one of the best pitchers in the American League this year in Gerrit Cole, matched up with a guy making just his second career start in Paul Blackburn. Blackburn was not long for this game as he got absolutely blasted to the tune of eight runs in just an inning and a third of work. People look at how good this Houston rotation is and sometimes they might forget that this lineup can be ferocious as well. For today’s pick, we will get back to normal and look for a spot where we can profitably back an underdog and get a big payout when the Tampa Bay Rays play the New York Yankees.
The Tampa Bay Rays will travel to New York Thursday for game one of a four-game series with their American League East Division rivals, the Yankees. Tampa Bay has been one of the streakiest teams in all of baseball, and they are now appearing to heat back up as they have won four out of their last five games after dropping seven straight the week before. The Yankees haven’t had any trouble staying consistent this year, as they have held the best record in the major leagues now for several weeks and are in first place in the AL East.
Starting for Tampa is Blake Snell (8-3 2.30 ERA), and for the Yankees, it is Domingo German (0-4 5.32 ERA). The Yankees are big -175 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
The Tampa Bay Rays aren’t a very good team this year. They have lost a bunch of talent to either injury or trade already this year, and their playoff hopes are dwindling by the day. That being said, this is still a competitive baseball team. They have a better record than seven other American League teams, and when they get hot, they find ways to win games they probably shouldn’t. We saw this in May when they went on a 14-4 run that got them back to .500. And we might be seeing that now as they have managed to win four out of their last five games.
One of the big reason why the Rays have managed to win games this season has been the work of starter Blake Snell. The Tampa Bay rotation has been a mess this season. They have turned to using the bullpen to start multiple games a week, and the results have been less than desirable. The one guy that they have been able to count on in that rotation has been Blake Snell.
Snell is 8-3 with a 2.30 ERA. If he were playing for Boston or New York, he would be being touted as a Cy Young candidate. Instead, he plays for Tampa, and you have probably never heard his name. Snell has been fantastic all season long and is only seemingly getting better. In his two starts so far in June, he is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. The Rays, despite their up and down season, have won eight of his last twelve starts and four out of his last five. In his last four starts, Snell has pitched twenty-three and two-thirds of an inning and allowed just one earned run.
The Yankees feature a wrecking crew of a lineup. This lineup is first in the majors in homers and slugging percentage and third in runs scored. They have no problems scoring runs. The issue with this New York team is the starting rotation. Outside of Luis Severino, the rotation for New York is all question marks. Tonight’s starter Domingo German might be the biggest question mark of them all.
German started the season in the Yankees bullpen and has been called up to start recently. In his six starts, he has less than impressed. His first starts against Cleveland was solid, but since then German has really struggled. In his last five starts, German has pitched twenty-seven innings and allowed twenty-three runs. The Yankees have bailed him out in a couple of those starts with lots of run support, but German is still 2-3 in his last five starts. I have a feeling the Yankees will be making a move at the deadline and German will head back to the bullpen as he clearly does not belong in the rotation. Until then, I will look for spots to fade the Yankees with German on the mound.
The starting pitching matchup in this game is a big-time mismatch. Just because you don’t know who Blake Snell is, doesn’t mean he hasn’t been dominating opposing lineups this year. And the Domingo German experiment seems destined to fail and come to an end as soon as the Yankees can make a move. What is likely just as big of a mismatch in this one is this Yankees lineup against this Rays team. So here we sit with a decision to make.
I hate betting against the Yankees this year. Especially at Yankee Stadium. But Domingo German should never be a -175 favorite against a starter as good as Snell. I know this Yankees team could still score ten runs for him and bail him out but getting an opportunity to get huge dog money in a spot like this is just too good to pass up on. I’ll take a flyer on a big underdog, looking for a big payout tonight in New York for game one. Give me the Tampa Bay Rays as big dogs at +150 tonight in game one!