The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees will go at it again in the third game of this pivotal four-game set on Saturday afternoon. First pitch from Yankee Stadium is set for 1:05 p.m. ET. It’ll be a matchup of marquee lefties on the mound, as AL Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan (7-0, 1.76 ERA) goes for the Rays against New York’s Nestor Cortes (3-2, 4.74).
Tampa Bay is currently a -120 favorite on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Yankees are slight +100 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.
Rays-Yankees picks: Saturday, May 13
Day to day: SS Wander Franco (neck)
Out: RP Garrett Cleavinger (knee), RP Pete Fairbanks (forearm), RP Jeffrey Springs (elbow), SP Tyler Glasnow (oblique), RP Shawn Armstrong (neck), SP Shane Baz (elbow), RP Andrew Kittredge (elbow)
Day to day: OF Aaron Hicks (hip)
Out: SS Oswald Peraza (ankle), OF Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring), RP Jonathan Loaisiga (elbow), 3B Josh Donaldson (hamstring), SP Luis Severino (lat), SP Carlos Rodon (back), RP Lou Trivino (elbow), RP Tommy Kahnle (biceps), SP Frankie Montas (shoulder), RP Scott Effross (elbow), SP Luis Gil (elbow)
Shane McClanahan vs. Nestor Cortes
McClanahan is quite simply one of the nastiest starters in all of baseball, going at least six innings in six of his eight outings this year while never allowing more than two runs in any of them. He’s struck out a whopping 58 batters in 46 innings, thanks to a fastball that sits 97-98 and can into the trouble digits — plus not one but two offspeed pitches with whiff rates over 40 percent. Whether it’s his curveball/slider to lefties or his changeup to righties, no one has been able to figure McClanahan out yet.
Cortes is still finding his rhythm after a balky hamstring sidetracked his spring. The lefty is once again using his fastball and cutter to great effect, forcing lots of weak contact, and his expected ERA of 3.48 is nearly a run and a half lower than his actual number — suggesting a lot of his struggles can be pinned on batted-ball noise. His K rate is down and his hard-hit rate is up a bit, but over the long run he should emerge as among the most reliable mid-rotation starters in baseball.
I don’t have any faith in this current Yankees lineup doing much of anything against McClanahan (or Jason Adam in the back of the Rays’ bullpen, for that matter), and while Tampa Bay’s Death Star of a lineup could get to Cortes a bit, I don’t think it’ll be enough to hit this number.
Pick: Under 8
This Rays lineup is too deep to ask Cortes to hold them off forever, and he might have to if he’s going to lead New York to a win against McClanahan. With relatively even odds, I’ll go with the better pitcher and the better lineup.