Yankees vs Rays Picks and Predictions: Aaron Judge & Co. Keep Crushing Left-Handers

The New York Yankees strike fear into the hearts of left-handed pitchers everywhere and face off against Rays southpaw Ryan Yarbrough tonight. We like the Bombers to continue their dominance against lefties en route to a decisive win in our betting picks.

Last Updated: May 26, 2022 12:07 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Aaron Judge New York Yankees MLB
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The New York Yankees were able to win their three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles by earning a 2-0 victory on Wednesday night, and the Bronx Bombers will now look to get things started off on the right foot in their series opener versus the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Will New York roll into The Trop and win the first contest in this four-game set? Continue reading our MLB picks and predictions to see where we land. 

Yankees vs Rays odds

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

It didn’t seem like a lock that the Yankees would start Nestor Cortes in this game, but it looks like they’re throwing the lefty out there and New York opened as a -115 favorite because of it. Since then, the Yankees have moved to as high as -127 by this writing. 

As for the total, the number opened at 7.5, but it could end up moving down to 7. The odds are really begging bettors to take the Over, so you can take a risk and wait if you’d like. 

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.

Yankees vs Rays predictions

Picks made on 5/26/2022 at 11:25 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Yankees vs Rays game info

Location: Tropicana Field, Tampa, FL
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2022
First pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET
TV: YES, Bally Sports Sun

Yankees vs Rays betting preview

Starting pitchers

Nestor Cortes (3-1, 1.80 ERA): Cortes is coming off of one of his worst outings of the year, yet that was a performance in which he gave up only three earned runs over five innings. That's how good the lefty has been. He's allowed two or fewer earned runs in seven of his eight starts and happens to be missing bats with regularity in 2022, as he has seven or more strikeouts in five of his eight starts. 

Ryan Yarbrough (0-0, 4.20 ERA): Yarbrough has allowed only two earned runs over his last 12 2-3 innings and the lefty will be looking to give Tampa Bay a good five or so innings tonight. Since allowing five runs in 2 1-3 innings in his first outing of the year, Yarbrough has gotten his ERA down from 19.29 to 4.20.

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Yankees: Aroldis Chapman P (Out), Josh Donaldson 3B (Out), Joey Gallo OF (Out), Giancarlo Stanton OF (Out), Chad Green P (Out), Luis Gil P (Out), Domingo German P (Out).
Rays: Brandon Lowe 2B (Out), Manuel Margot OF (Out), Phoenix Sanders P (Out), Chris Mazza P (Out), Shane Baz P (Out), Luis Patino P (Out), Nick Anderson P (Out), Tyler Glasnow P (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 8-2 in the last 10 games the Yankees have played against left-handed starters. Find more MLB betting trends for Yankees vs. Rays

Yankees vs Rays 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.

Moneyline analysis

The Yankees are once again turning to Nestor Cortes on the mound, which gives New York an immediate advantage on the hill. Not only has Cortes been stellar this season, but the Rays don’t hit lefties as well as they hit righties. The team is just 15th in MLB in OPS when facing lefties, and Tampa falls outside the Top 20 in isolated power and weighted runs created against southpaws. Those statistics are better across the board when facing righties. 

Yarbrough also happens to be a very beatable option for the Rays, as the lefty has a 4.30 ERA in his career in Tampa Bay. The 30-year-old has been solid in recent weeks, but hitters do make a good amount of contact against him — and any contact from this Yankees lineup is dangerous even if they are missing a few important pieces.

Yarbrough also doesn’t work deep into games, which isn’t great considering the Rays bullpen hasn’t been as reliable as usual this season. Tampa Bay is missing several key contributors from that group, and it’s hard to count on the current crop of relievers to win games — especially against this Yankees team. 

The Yankees also happen to be Top 5 in the league in OPS and wRC+ against lefties, and they’re at the top of MLB in isolated power vs. southpaws. Don’t be surprised if New York plates a few against Yarbrough and continues to do a little damage against the Tampa Bay bullpen.

With Cortes on that mound, that should be more than enough. New York also has the fifth-best bullpen ERA in the league, so the Yankees should be able to protect any lead they build early. 

Prediction: Yankees moneyline (-120 at DraftKings)

Over/Under analysis

The Over is 8-2 in the last 10 games the Yankees have played against left-handed starters, which isn’t surprising when you consider some of New York’s numbers against southpaws in 2022. On top of that, the Over is also 7-2 in the last nine games the Yankees have played against AL East opponents.

As for Tampa Bay, the Rays have played five games that have gone Over the total in their last seven. And the Over is also 4-0 in the last four games in which Tampa Bay is following up a win. 

Cortes is coming off his worst start of the season and slight regression could be in the offing. His FIP is a more-than-respectable 2.58 compared to his incredible 1.80 ERA, but the Rays may only need a run or two to help push this total across the finish line.

This total is just rather low for a game in which the Yankees get to see a lefty starter, so we're backing the Over. 

Prediction: Over 7.5 (+104 at FanDuel)

Best bet

The Yankees are coming off a game in which they scored only two runs, but it’s still a little surprising to see their team total down at 3.5 tonight. New York has been struggling a bit compared to the high standards the team has set this season, but the Yankees have still scored at least four runs in 27 of the 44 games they have played this year.

They are also a lot better against lefties than they are against righties, so there is a realistic chance they’ll hit the Over on their team total before Yarbrough ultimately exits.

Opponents have also scored at least four runs in three of Tampa Bay’s last five games, and three of the four games in which Yarbrough has pitched this year have ended with the Rays' opponent scoring at least five runs. 

Pick: Yankees team total Over 3.5 (-130 at Unibet)

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