The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are tied at a game apiece heading into Wednesday’s crucial ALDS Game 3 matchup.
This New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays betting preview includes odds, picks, and predictions for Game 3 of the ALDS.
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are tied at one game apiece following Tuesday night’s Rays win. This means that the loser of game three will be facing the possible end of their season on Thursday.
For the Yankees, that carries extra weight because they don’t have a Game 4 pitching plan. The Rays know their best chance is to win in four and avoid seeing Gerrit Cole a second time.
Yankees vs. Rays Game 3 Odds
Here are the current odds for Game 3 of the ALDS.
Yankees vs. Rays Game 3 Betting Preview
Game 3 will be an all hands on deck type of game for both teams. Anyone that can be used, will be used. But the first thing on everybody’s mind will be the starting pitching matchup.
Masahiro Tanaka vs. Charlie Morton
The Yankees have never needed Masahiro Tanaka to show up more than they do for Game 3. Traditionally, Tanaka has been an absolute ace in the biggest games of the year.
However, he got blown up against the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card Series. He gave up six earned runs in just four innings of work and only struck out three.
Now some of that may be linked to the weirdest rain delay start of all time. The game began 45 minutes late, the rain started, and after playing through a monsoon for one inning, the game went back into a rain delay. The Yankees elected to keep Tanaka on the mound following the delay and he struggled.
But with so much riding on the outcome of Game 3, the Yankees have to feel comfortable with Tanaka on the mound.
Of course, the Rays should feel pretty comfortable with Charlie Morton on the mound for them. Morton didn’t have his best year in 2020, pitching to the tune of a 4.74 ERA in nine starts. But he’s a postseason veteran with a ring under his belt. He knows what’s at stake and he knows what he needs to do to give his team a chance to win.
He also knows that the Rays aren’t relying on him to work deep into the game. With one of the best bullpens in baseball, the Rays can afford to pull Morton if he gets into trouble. So all Morton needs to do is keep the Rays in the game until he can turn it over to their lockdown relievers.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. Randy Arozarena
Giancarlo Stanton and Randy Arozarena have been trading haymakers like a heavyweight boxing match in the 80s. Stanton has accounted for eight runs on 3-for-8 hitting with all three of those hits being homers. Arozarena is 5-for-8 with two homers. With two good pitchers starting on Wednesday, this game could very well come down to which one of these guys lose their power swing first.
Of course, this is just part of the offensive puzzle. And on Tuesday night the Rays held the advantage in that category. The Yankees struck out 18 times. Eighteen! It’s not easy to win a game when 66.7% of your outs are coming without putting anything in play. The Yankees need to get the offense rolling early against Morton before the Rays bullpen comes back into play. Otherwise, they could be looking at another brutal night of at-bats.
The Rays bullpen is nasty
I’ve said this already but it bears repeating. The Tampa Bay Rays bullpen is one of the best in baseball. Nick Anderson may very well have been the best reliever of the 2020 season. Anderson and Diego Castillo made the Yankees look foolish on Tuesday night, combining for six strikeouts over three innings.
The Yankees bullpen, on the other hand, is an absolute disaster. Following the season-ending elbow injury to Tommy Kahnle, bullpen depth has been questionable at best. Adam Ottavino has fallen completely out of the trust tree. Chad Green has been subject to multiple blow-up innings. Outside of Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman, there’s really no reliable option for manager Aaron Boone to turn to.
Yankees vs. Rays Game 3 Prediction
The Rays can lean on their bullpen to maximize Morton’s effectiveness in a short outing. The Yankees desperately need length out of Tanaka. That gives the Rays a distinct advantage on the pitching side, and after 18 strikeouts Tuesday, the Yankees offense is tough to bet on.
Yankees vs. Rays Game 3 Prediction
The Yankees are favorites in this game but I would go with the Rays moneyline. Rays at +1.5 is a safe bet, but if the Yankees win this game, it’s likely because their offense exploded and Tanaka shoved.