Rays vs Yankees Picks and Predictions: Yarbrough Stifles Hicks, Yanks

Ryan Yarbrough is the bulk man for the Rays tonight against the Yankees. And while we like a low-scoring affair with Gerrit Cole on the opposite mound, we're looking at a struggling Aaron Hicks to come up empty-handed in our Best Bet.

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2022 3:04 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Ryan Yarbrough Tampa Bay Rays MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

We have the first matchup of this three-game AL East intradivisional series with the New York Yankees hosting the Tampa Bay Rays. This is the 11th meeting between these two teams this season with the Yankees winning seven of the first 10 matchups.

Will the Yankees take care of business once again, or can the Rays grab a win as a large road underdog? Find out in our free MLB picks and predictions for Rays vs Yankees on Monday, August 15.

Rays vs Yankees odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Yankees were unveiled as consensus favorites of –230 on Monday morning and have since been bet up to –245. The consensus opening total opened at 7.5 and has stayed at that number.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until first pitch and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Rays vs Yankees predictions

Picks made on 8/15/2022 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Rays vs Yankees game info

Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Date: Monday, August 15, 2022
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Sun, YES Network

Rays vs Yankees betting preview

Starting pitchers

Ryan Yarbrough (0-7, 5.08 ERA): Yarbrough will be following Monday’s opener, Jalen Beeks. While it has been a tough season for the left-hander, he has been throwing much better recently. Over his last five outings, Yarbrough has produced a 3.38 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. Yarbrough utilizes a four-pitch arsenal, though he mostly relies on his cutter. That pitch has been solid all season and could give this Yankees lineup some trouble. This season, his cutter boasts a .225 xBA.

Gerrit Cole (9-4, 3.38 ERA): Cole is coming off one of his best starts of the year where he allowed zero runs on just four hits through seven innings pitched while racking up eight strikeouts against the powerful Mariners lineup on the road. This was particularly impressive given the circumstances. Cole is a fastball-heavy pitcher, with 51.1% of his pitch count stemming from his 4-seam while relying on the slider to put away hitters. When mixing in the slider, Cole finds a ton of success as opposing hitters possess a .197 BA and 42.6% whiff rate.

Weather

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Key injuries

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Aaron Hicks has failed to record a hit in 12 of his last 15 games (80%). Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Yankees

Rays vs Yankees picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Run line analysis

This game features two teams trending in very different directions. Entering this series, the Rays have won six of their last 10 games while the Yankees have lost nine of their last 11.

I expect these trends to continue. Tampa Bay is deploying an opener for the first couple of innings before Ryan Yarbrough takes over for left-hander Jalen Beeks.

Through 29 pitching appearances this season, Beeks is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Based on his strong metrics this season, we should not expect any regression from Beeks in this outing.

Beeks possesses a .290 xwOBA, .206 xBA, and .363 xSLG. If he starts the game with a couple of good innings, then it will make Yarbrough’s job much easier.

Additionally, New York is a team that Yarbrough has shut down in the past. Over his 10 career appearances against the Yankees, Yarbrough is 5-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.

Through 128 career plate appearances against the Rays’ left-hander, this current Yankees lineup possesses a mere .190 BA, .284 SLG, and .244 wOBA. At almost –250, the Yankees’ moneyline is over-inflated due to a variety of biases.

New York is a team that is usually heavily bet-on, especially when Cole is on the mound. Due to their popularity and track record this season, I believe that oddsmakers have significantly over-adjusted this line.

The Yankees have been awful recently, and do not have a friendly matchup in this contest. Should the Yankees be favored? Yes. Should they be –250? Absolutely not. This is a value play.

Prediction: Rays +1.5 (+104 at FanDuel)

Over/Under analysis

While the Rays' pitching staff should shut the Yankees down, their lineup may struggle to generate runs against Cole. As mentioned in the starting pitcher section, Cole has been dealing this season and is coming off one of his best starts.

Additionally, this current Rays roster has struggled against Cole in the past. Through 168 career plate appearances against New York’s right-hander, this current Tampa Bay roster possesses a mere .201 xBA, .331 xSLG, and .273 xwOBA. 

Since July 1, the Rays rank just 18th in the league in SLG, 16th in OPS, 21st in wOBA, and 21st in hard-hit percentage when facing right-handed pitchers. And there's no rest for the wicked if Tampa somehow chases Cole as the Yankees feature one of baseball's best bullpens. 

New York’s relief pitching ranks 11th in the league in ERA, 11th in BA, third in SLG, fourth in wOBA, and second in hard-hit percentage since July 1. Utilizing only one reliever who threw just nine pitches in Sunday’s game (Jonathan Loaisiga), the Yankees’ entire bullpen should be available tonight.

The Under has been a decent bet for each team recently, going 3-3-4 for Tampa Bay over its last 10 games and 6-3-1 for New York over its last 10 .

Prediction: Under 7.5 (-110 at BetRivers)

Best bet

With all that being said, I am not confident enough to take the Rays’ run line because Cole has been so dominant on the mound, and I could see him shutting down Tampa Bay. I am also not confident enough to strongly recommend the Under, solely because 7.5 is such a low total and may be slightly over-adjusted due to Cole’s track record.

The one play I am most confident in is for Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks to continue to struggle at the plate. Failing to record a hit in 12 of his last 15 games, Hicks should be able to stay under this total once again.

It has been an extremely disappointing season for the switch-hitter, possessing a mere .220/.342/.308 slash line. These surface-level stats align perfectly with his underlying metrics, evidenced by his .221 xBA, .306 xwOBA, and .328 xSLG.

We should expect this poor play to continue against left-handers Yarbrough and Beeks. In his career against those two pitchers, Hicks is just 3-for-18.

Pick: Aaron Hicks Under 0.5 hits (+115)

MLB parlays

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