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|Team||Run Spread||Money Line||Total|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1.5 (-118)
|O 7 (-124)
|New York Yankees||-1.5 (-103)
|U 7 (+102)
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|The Rays entered the series red hot, unquestionably the hottest team in baseball. The Yankees on the other hand came limping into the series, having been swept by the Detroit Tigers. But through three games, New York has taken two and is looking for the series win. They are the heavy favorites, too, with Gerrit Cole on the mound. That said, the Rays are 20-9 against the Yankees in their last 29 meetings for a reason. They win when they’re not “supposed” to win.|
Garcia’s 2021 record: (21-17-2)
|Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees Information|
|Teams||Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees|
|Location||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY|
|Time||Thursday, June 3, 1:05 p.m. EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN+, YES Network|
Yankees have an ace on the mound with a chance to win the series
Had you told any Yankees fan entering the series against the Rays that they would be up 2-1 with Gerrit Cole on the Mound in game four, they would have signed up in a heartbeat. That’s exactly where we are — a welcomed sight in the Bronx considering New York was 19-6 in its last 25 games against the Rays prior to this series.
Cole now is set to face Tampa Bay for the third time this year after having split the first two meetings.
In the first contest, Cole gave up two earned runs on five hits in 6.1 innings while striking out 10 and not issuing a single walk in a 4-2 loss. He somehow turned it up a notch in their last matchup, throwing eight innings of shutout baseball with a season-high 12 (!) strikeouts and no walks.
In all, the Yankees’ 300-million-dollar man has been everything they’d hoped he’d be, sitting in the top 10 in a number of major categories across baseball including record (6-2, 8th), ERA (1.78, 4th), WHIP (0.83, eighth) and strikeouts (397, third). Cole has given up just one run in his last two games and held opponents to two runs or fewer in nine of his 10 starts this year.
Every team in baseball every year will have a stretch where they get hot and another where they get cold. But very, very few ever have a two-week period where they’re as dominant as Tampa Bay just was.
Prior to the last two days, Tampa Bay was 16-1 (!!) in its last 17 games overall out-scoring their opponents by a staggering 65 runs during that stretch. It’s largely been Austin Meadows carrying the load the last week, too. He’s a red hot 8-for-18 (.444) with eight walks the last week, with four home runs and 10 RBIs — that’s a .615 OBP and other-worldly 1.893 OPS.
But that Tampa Bay magic has cooled off in New York, losing two of the first three in the series, (a turn of events from the dominance Tampa Bay had experienced in recent years). They will now turn to Ryan Yarbrough to see if they can split and extend their lead in the AL East.
Yarbrough his 2-3 overall with a 4.26 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. However, his numbers were better in May, going 1-0 with a 3.42 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.
He’s one of the best young players in the game, but our eyes are on Randy Arozarena in this one to see if he can turn things around. The 26-year-old is 3-for-26 over the last week and has just one multi-hit game in his last eight contests. Another Ray worth watching is Joey Wendle. The third baseman hits a team-best .328 against right-handed pitchers.
For New York our eyes are on Gary Sanchez. The former All-Star catcher has struggled at the plate the past few years, but might he be showing signs of returning back to his old form? Sanchez is hitting better than .400 over the last week with a home run and two doubles and has raised his batting average more than 30 points since May 25th.
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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