Rays vs. Yankees ALDS Game 3 | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The New York Yankees will be the home team for the first time Wednesday in Game 3 of their American League Division Series against the rival Tampa Bay Rays from Petco Park in San Diego. It’s a matchup of veteran right-handers and perhaps Masahiro Tanaka’s last start with New York.

How to Bet Rays at Yankees MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 7:10 PM ET
  • Where: Petco Park, San Diego
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Charlie Morton/Masahiro Tanaka
  • TV: TBS; TBS app
  • Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
  • Opening MLB Lines: TBA

Why Bet on Tampa Bay? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Rays advanced to the Division Series for the sixth time since 2008, a feat matched by only the Dodgers (10), Yankees (8), Cardinals (7) and Red Sox (6).

The Rays do have former All-Star outfielder Austin Meadows on the ALDS roster but didn’t start him in Game 1 on Monday. At the very least, he’ll give the club a potent left-handed bat off the bench. Meadows struggled during the regular season (.667 OPS) before being shut down on Sept. 17 with an oblique injury. An early season COVID-19 diagnosis may have played a role in those struggles.

In a bit of a surprise, good-looking young pitcher Josh Fleming isn’t on the roster. Fleming, 24, reeled off a 2.78 ERA with 25 strikeouts and seven walks over 32 1/3 innings as a rookie this season. Tampa Bay opted for 15 position players and 13 pitchers.

Lefty Shane McClanahan was on the Wild Card Series roster but did not pitch. His first outing in the Division Series will be his major league debut, and he will become the first pitcher in major league history to debut in the postseason. Three position players have made their major league debuts in the postseason.

It’s Charlie Morton on the mound. He wasn’t needed in the Wild-Card Round as the Rays swept Toronto and Morton was to start Game 3. Morton last took the mound on Sept. 25 vs. Philadelphia and Morton gave up three earned runs over five innings with eight strikeouts on Friday in a no-decision.

Morton also allowed an unearned run. The right-hander gave up seven hits, and he issued a walk. Morton ended his regular season by allowing three runs in three-of-four starts after allowing no more than two in his previous four outings. Overall, Morton didn’t live up to expectations in 2020 with a 4.74 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 42/10 K/BB ratio in his nine starts. He had some injury issues.

Morton last faced the Yankees on Sept. 2 at Yankee Stadium and pitched a pair of hitless innings and struck out four against the Yankees in his return to the rotation from the injury list. He was pulled after 36 pitches.

Why Bet on New York? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Yankees have added right-hander Mike King to their roster for the ALDS against the Rays. Erik Kratz, who was the third catcher, has been taken off the roster. King, 25, posted a rough 7.76 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 11 walks through 26 2/3 innings with the Yankees this season.

In a minor surprise, Yankees manager Aaron Boone opted to go with young Deivi Garcia in Game 2 and will use Masahiro Tanaka in this one. Nearly every Yankees beat writers expected Tanaka to be the Game 2 guy. Garcia, who didn’t pitch in the Yankees’ two-game sweep of the Indians in the Wild Card Series, had a 4.98 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings in the regular season.

Tanaka had been terrific in eight career postseason starts but was hit around in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Round against Cleveland, allowing six runs on five hits in four innings, striking out three and walking three. The Yankees’ bats eventually bailed Tanaka out, as New York came back to win 10-9.

Most of the damage was done in the first inning, a frame which saw five Cleveland hitters reach base and four come around to score. He later allowed the first two batters in the fifth inning to reach base, both of whom would come around to score after he was replaced by a reliever. Tanaka never previously allowed more than three earned runs in the postseason.

This could be Tanaka’s final start as a member of the Yankees as he’s set for free agency. The Yankees have also gotten their money’s worth with the regular season work since Tanaka signed a $155 million contract before the 2014 season. The 31-year-old is 78-46, 3.74 in 174 appearances (173 starts).

“I certainly hope he will be a Yankee,” Boone said. “He’s the consummate professional. I think he’s such a great example for any player watching or if you want to latch onto somebody to follow how they go about things. He’s super prepared. He takes great care of himself. He’s obviously completely dedicated and great at his craft. It’s fun to watch how precise he is and precise how he expects himself to be.

Tanaka faced the Rays three times this season, last on Sept. 1 at Yankee Stadium. He pitched six innings of two-run ball in the victory.  He split a pair of decisions across the three regular-season starts against the Rays with a 4.20 ERA.

Expert Prediction Yankees 4, Rays 3

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