MLB Regular Season

Matchup: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

Date/Time: September 16, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Luis Severino (3-3, 3.35) vs. Chris Archer (12-11, 2.95)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Tampa Bay -130

Total: 7

The future of AL East Division pitching is pretty bright with guys like Luis Severino and Chris Archer. That will be the pitching matchup on Wednesday night when the New York Yankees continue their push for the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Rays. Severino is just seven starts into a young, but very promising Major League career. Archer officially “arrived” last season, but took things up a notch this season. With others like Marcus Stroman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, Jake Odorizzi, and a collection of talented, but injury-prone youngsters like Dylan Bundy in Baltimore, there are a lot of arms to be excited about. In this one, the Rays are a home favorite with their ace on the bump.

The Yankees couldn’t solve Jake Odorizzi on Tuesday night, but they didn’t lose any ground on the Toronto Blue Jays, who lost to Atlanta. The Yankees begin play on Wednesday trailing by three games in the AL East, but they are comfortably in a position to make the playoffs. The Yanks are up by 2.5 on Houston for the top wild card spot and by four games on Minnesota, who is the closest challenger to the Astros. The Rays are 70-74, 6.5 back of the wild card, so there probably isn’t enough time left in the season for the Rays to get back into the hunt.

Luis Severino, who began the season at Double-A, was the main reason why the Yankees didn’t acquire a pitcher at the trade deadline. The Yankees were in the mix for some big-name starters, including David Price, but they decided to hold on to assets like Severino, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge, a prospect that some scouts have slapped a power grade of 70 on from the 20-80 scouting scale. Severino has a very lively fastball, with a plus changeup and a slider that flashes plus as well. In seven starts, he has a 3.35 ERA with a 4.63 FIP and a 3.93 xFIP. Some control and command problems have popped up, but he’s also 21 years old. Severino gave up eight home runs in 320.2 minor league innings, but has already allowed six home runs in 37.2 Major League innings.

He’s also averaged better than a strikeout per inning over his seven starts, so the potential and the raw stuff are there. His last start against Toronto skewed all of his numbers because he allowed six runs on six hits over 2.1 innings of work. That was his first non-quality start in his last five outings. One concern, however, is that was the second time that Severino faced the Blue Jays. This will be the second time this month that he faces the Rays. Young pitchers can sometimes have problems adjusting to seeing a team a second time, so that’s worth watching here in this one. Fortunately for Severino, the Rays offense isn’t on Toronto’s level.

Chris Archer was in rookie ball at 18 in the Cleveland Indians system. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Mark DeRosa and then traded by the Chicago Cubs to Tampa Bay in the Matt Garza deal. The Rays also got Brandon Guyer in that trade so it has worked out handsomely for them, as Archer has grown into a great ambassador for the game and one of the AL’s elite arms. A lack of run support is the reason why the #KillTheWin campaign exists and Archer’s 12-11 record is further proof. Archer has a 2.95 ERA with a 2.68 FIP and a 2.77 xFIP. He has struck out 30.5 percent of the batters he has faced on the year.

Archer is predominantly a fastball/slider guy, but he also throws a pretty good changeup when he needs it. His 13.5 percent swinging strike rate is only eclipsed by some guy named Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, and Francisco Liriano. Per PITCHf/x pitch values, nobody throws a better slider than Archer, whose best pitch rates 26 runs above average. The next closest is Tyson Ross at 22.3. Only four Major League teams are above average in hitting sliders and the Yankees are not one of them.

MLB Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays

In the past, Chris Archer had some platoon split issues with lefties, but those are virtually gone now and that adds some additional confidence in backing him in this start. Archer was touched up for five runs in 6.1 innings against the Yankees and didn’t have his best stuff in that September 6 start. I’d expect him to bounce back big in this one. I’d also expect the Rays to struggle with Luis Severino, so the under is a good luck as well.