Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Tampa Bay at NY Yankees
When: 1:05 PM ET, Thursday, August 16, 2018
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

The New York Yankees have endured difficulty in solving the pesky Tampa Bay Rays, as they have dropped seven of their last nine encounters heading into the rubber match of their three-game series in the Bronx on Thursday afternoon. The Yankees (75-45) fell for the third time in their last 10 contests overall with a decisive 6-1 setback to the Rays (61-59) on Wednesday.

Rookie Miguel Andujar belted his fifth homer in nine outings on Wednesday, improving to 14-for-37 with 11 RBIs and nine runs scored in that stretch. The 23-year-old Dominican is 14-for-47 with two homers and five RBIs against Tampa Bay this season and 1-for-3 with a double versus Thursday starter Blake Snell. While New York is nursing a 3 1/2-game lead over Oakland for the first wild-card spot in the American League, Tampa Bay has won five of eight to move two games over .500. Mallex Smith highlighted his three-hit performance with a two-run homer on Wednesday after going 5-for-32 with eight strikeouts in his previous at-bats in the season series.

TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FS Sun (Tampa Bay), YES (New York)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH Blake Snell (13-5, 2.18 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (9-3, 4.08)

Snell struck out six and retired all 15 batters he faced before departing in Friday's 7-0 romp at Toronto in his second start since coming off the disabled list because of shoulder fatigue. "I'm not going to argue. I felt great, yes, but I haven't gone five innings in a month," the 25-year-old All-Star told reporters of his abrupt exit. Snell hasn't fared well in a pair of losses versus New York this season, permitting nine runs on as many hits - including four homers - while issuing seven walks in 8 1/3 innings.

Tanaka tasted defeat for the first time since April 17 on Friday when he was gouged for six runs on as many hits - including three homers - over five innings of a 12-7 setback versus Texas. The 29-year-old Japanese star had won his previous seven decisions and owned a stingy 1.78 ERA in six previous starts before getting ripped by the Rangers. Tanaka was downright masterful against Tampa Bay on July 24, scattering three hits and striking out a season high-tying nine in a complete-game 4-0 win.

WALK-OFFS

1. New York has belted a home run in 14 straight home games.

2. The Rays will activate OF Tommy Pham from the disabled list prior to Thursday's contest after an 11-game absence due to a fractured foot.

3. Yankees rookie 2B Gleyber Torres is 2-for-29 in his last seven games.

PREDICTION: Yankees 4, Rays 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Tampa Bay 61-59 W1 34-24 27-35 26-26 13-9 16-12 6-12
NY Yankees 75-45 L1 42-19 33-26 27-25 19-5 19-7 10-8
Last Meeting
Tampa Bay NY Yankees
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/15/18 TB 6 NYY 1 .297 1 .840 .156 1 .602
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay M. Duffy .235 12 .720
NY Yankees G. Stanton .302 16 .946
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay M. Duffy 2 6 7
NY Yankees G. Stanton 3 8 9
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.88 .231 129
NY Yankees 2.98 .224 139
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay M. Smith .297 102 .798
NY Yankees M. Andujar .296 123 .854
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay C. Cron 22 52 56
NY Yankees G. Stanton 30 78 76
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.81 .253 1040
NY Yankees 3.72 .252 1206