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Fresh off a three-game sweep of Baltimore, the Oakland A’s are set to host Tampa Bay for a four-game series that starts on Thursday night. Game 1 of the series between these two winning clubs will start at 10:07 P.M ET with Charlie Morton (TB) and Frankie Montas (OAK) starting on the hill.
Tampa Hoping to Get Back on Track
On June 10th, the Tampa Bay Rays were sitting pretty. They had just won Game 1 of their series against Oakland, their sixth win in seven games, pushing their overall record to 41-24 on the season. Unfortunately, things went downhill immediately after for the Rays; they’ve won just two of their last nine games to bring their record to 43-31 overall. They’re currently 3.5 GB in the AL East standings, though they lead the AL Wild Card race.
At the tail-end of their recent skid, the New York Yankees swept the Rays in three games at Yankee Stadium. In this series, the offense for Tampa Bay really struggled, scoring just four runs in three games — far below their season average of 4.64 per game — and recording only 14 total hits. Brandon Lowe, one of their best hitters and a potential AL All-Star, was one of the biggest reasons they failed to produce much offensively, as he went 0-for-11 in the series.
The Yankees series, however, is probably an outlier. They’ll be able to bounce back sooner or later because they’re one of the better contact-hitting teams in baseball. This team is not relying solely on home runs for production. In fact, six of their everyday players are hitting .269 or better, highlighted by Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham, who are each hitting above .300.
He's reached base in 27 of his last 29 games.
He's 3rd in the A.L. in OBP.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 18, 2019
Unfortunately, one of their everyday players, Yandy Diaz (.286 BA) strained his hamstring before the Yankees series and is on the 10-day IL.
Oakland Red Hot After Sweep
A few days ago, the Oakland A’s were down in the dumps after losing a series to a struggling Seattle Mariners team. The final loss of the series was especially bad because they blew a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, eventually falling 6-3, and because it brought their overall record down to .500 (36-36). It was a real bummer for a team with a lot of promise but the feeling didn’t last long.
The A’s hosted Baltimore immediately after their loss to Seattle and they used the O’s as their punching bag all series, erasing any unsettling feelings they had. In three games, Oakland outscored the lowly Orioles 27-7, including Game 2 which saw them score 16 runs on 15 hits and six home runs. Ramon Laureano was one of many A’s to thrive against Baltimore, collecting hits in all three games and finishing the series 6-for-13 with three doubles and a home run.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) June 19, 2019
The outburst offensively wasn’t totally out of nowhere; the A’s have a lineup filled with solid bats. Overall, they are in the Top 10 in the MLB in home runs/game, led by 16 apiece from Khris Davis and Matt Chapman.
On Thursday, the A’s will hope to continue their hot streak against Tampa Bay. Their projected starter, Frankie Montas, is the best the A’s have this year: Montas has a team-best 10 quality starts and 2.85 ERA in 14 starts.
- 6-1 in their last 7 games w/Montas starting.
- 4-1 in their last 5 games overall.
Tampa Bay is:
- 2-7 in their last 9 games overall.
- 1-4 in their last 5 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a great spot for Oakland on Thursday: the A’s are coming off a great series against Baltimore which definitely gave them tons of confidence, and their best pitcher is on the bump against Tampa Bay. On the other side, the Rays are seriously struggling, and although they have their ace on the hill, he’s coming off his worst outing in some time.
Plus, of course, they’re on their home turf and the value (+100) is fantastic.
Prediction: Oakland A’s +100
Full-Game Total Pick
The Rays have been struggling to do anything offensively, and although I don’t expect them to be completely flat on Thursday, eight runs is a lot and Frankie Montas is awfully tough to hit. This game will be all about the pitching on Thursday. Both starters can bring it and Oakland is one of the best pitcher’s ballparks in all of baseball. Under all the way!
Prediction: Under 8