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The Yankees and Rays play the third game of a four-game series on Saturday, and MLB expert Mike Spector weighs in with his best game prop wager for the AL East tilt.
ANALYSIS

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees Prediction: Can the Rays Be Gerrit Cole's Nemesis Again?

The Tampa Bay Rays have squandered two straight opportunities to close ground on the New York Yankees in the AL East race, losing the first two games of this four-game series by a combined 9-2. New York has won four consecutive games, opened up a 6.5-game lead in the division, and improved its MLB-best record to 33-13.

The Yankees have to feel good entering the third game of this series as they send ace Gerrit Cole to the mound. However, Cole has struggled mightily in his career against Tampa Bay. Will the Rays hit him hard again?

Read on for our prediction and best play for Saturday's AL East tilt between the Yankees and Rays.

Rays vs. Yankees Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: May 28, 2022
  • Game Time: 4:10 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: BSS, YES Network, MLB Extra Innings

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Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees Prediction

Gerrit Cole enters this start with a 4-1 record and 3.31 ERA, which would appear as more than adequate numbers on the surface. However, Cole has uncharacteristically three or more earned runs in four of his nine starts, and his 3.58 ERA in May is worse than what he finished April with (3.00).

It may shock many to learn that Cole has just one win (and six losses) in 11 career starts against Tampa Bay and that the lone win came just last year. Nevertheless, the Rays will again look to be a nemesis for the Yankees ace, having successfully worked the count and getting Cole's pitch count up in his recent outings. 

In four starts last year, Cole pitched to a 5.11 ERA against Tampa Bay, and his career 4.46 ERA is the second-highest against any opponent he has started at least ten games against. And suppose Cole does not last the 5.2 innings he has averaged in his nine starts this season. In that case, he is turning the game over to a Yankees bullpen with several key relievers (Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton) on the IL. 

Considering the Yankees are the second-highest scoring team in the American League, we would typically figure they would also do their part in scoring runs this afternoon. However, the Yankees lineup is banged up at the moment, as DJ LeMahieu (wrist) and Aaron Hicks (hamstring) were held out of the starting lineup yesterday, and Giancarlo Stanton (ankle) is on the 10-day IL. Thus, the safest play is the over on Tampa Bay's team total, given their success against Cole throughout his career.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees Pick

PICK: Tampa Bay Rays Team Total OVER 2.5 (-150) (Bet $150 to win $100)

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Article Author

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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