Monday night features Game 1 of the ALDS series between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. As MLB shifts towards more of a bubble atmosphere, the two teams will square off against one another at Petco Park in San Diego. First pitch for Game 1 is scheduled at 8:07 P.M. Eastern.
For the New York Yankees, they enter this one after sweeping the Cleveland Indians in two games during the Wild Card Series. In those two games, the Yankees outscored the Indians 22-12, recording double-digit runs in both of their games. They will look to continue to stay hot against a tough Rays team.
Speaking of the Rays, they also swept their opening round, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 and 8-2. Powered by a stellar pitching staff, the Rays will look to take out their division foe and move onto the ALCS.
The pitching matchup for this one features Gerrit Cole (7-3, 2.84 ERA) going for the Yankees against the Rays’ Blake Snell (4-2, 3.24 ERA).
The Yankees come into this one as the favorite with a moneyline of -130. Meanwhile, the Rays are +112 to take Game 1. The spread sits at +1.5 for Tampa Bay, and the over/under for total runs is at 7.5.
Yankees Hope To Continue Offensive Onslaught
There is no denying, when healthy, the Yankees are one of the best offensive teams in baseball. After a regular season of struggling to keep everyone on the field, they finally appear to be at full strength.
In the two-game series against the Indians, the Yankees slugged seven home runs en route to their two victories. After struggling during the regular season, shortstop Gleyber Torres was especially lethal. He hit .714/.800/1.143 with a home run, three runs batted in, and three runs scored.
Throw on top of that the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, and others, and the Rays’ pitching staff will have their work cut out for them.
On the mound, Gerrit Cole looks to continue his dominance. In the first series, Cole pitched seven innings allowing six hits, two earned runs, and struck out 13 batters. He will look to continue that dominance on Monday.
Rays Need Their “A” Game
Playing in the same division, the Rays know that they will have to bring their best this week. During the regular season, the Rays went 8-2 against the Yankees, but they also haven’t played each other in more than a month.
To win, the Rays will have to rely on their brilliant pitching staff. Blake Snell gets the ball for Game 1, and he showed his ability to be an ace in Game 1 against the Blue Jays last series. He went 5.2 innings in that game, allowing just one hit, walking two, and striking out nine.
Offensively, the Rays don’t have many true superstars, but they have a lineup that can grind out at-bats and manufacture runs when needed. The most productive hitter during the regular season was Brandon Lowe. He hit .269, .362/.554 with 14 home runs, 37 runs batted in, and 36 runs scored. Lowe led the team in all three of those categories.
After being called up later in the season, outfielder Randy Arozarena also made a name for himself in the Rays’ lineup. In just 64 at-bats, he hit .281/.382/.641 with seven home runs, 11 runs batted in, and 15 runs scored.
Taking The Yankees To Win
Teams around the league should be on notice. The Yankees put up a hitting barrage against one of the top rotations in baseball in the Cleveland Indians, and the Bronx Bombers didn’t seem to break a sweat. If they can do that against the likes of Shane Bieber and Carlos Carrasco, I think they can do the same against Blake Snell
Especially with Gerrit Cole on the mound, the Yankees seem like the smart bet in this one.
THE PICK IS IN: Yankees (-130)