Washington Nationals (39-35) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (36-40)
Where and when: Tropicana Field, Tampa, Florida, Monday, 7:10 pm EST
Game 1 of a 2-game set between the visiting Washington Nationals and the Tampa Bay Rays will take place at Tropicana Field in Tamp, Florida, on Monday night at 7:10 pm EST. The Nationals currently occupy 3rd place within the NL East as they were pushed aside by the Phillies after dropping 7 of their last 9 games while the Rays continue to occupy the 3rd place slot within the tough AL East division. The Phillies are experiencing a scoring spree in this matchup as they have outscored the Nationals 17-5 thus far in this series with game 2 being a 5-3 home win. The Phillies cashed in on the money line as slight underdogs (+110) while the under was the play in that the total was set at 8.5 runs per game. Mikael Franco had an outstanding game for the Phillies going 4-4 for the night along with 1 RBI while Aaron Nola (9-2) continued his solid streak of pitching going 6 innings while allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts with an ERA of 2.58 for the game. The losing pitcher was Erick Fredde (0-3) who went 6 innings also yet giving up 3 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts with an ERA of 5.32. Anthony Rendon went 2-4 for the night with an RBI while Daniel Murphy went 1-4 with 2 RBI’s for the night. This will be the 2nd meeting of the year amongst these two teams since both teams split a 2-game set at Nationals Park on 6-6-2018.
Snell Seeks 6th win in 9 Starts
The Tampa Bay Rays come into this matchup as winners of 3 of their last 5 games to where the O/U was 1-4. For the season, the Rays are averaging 3.86 runs per game (25th) with a team batting average of .251 (10th), 68 homers (26th), along with 41 stolen bases on the year (12th). Their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.81 (12th) with 627 strikeouts (21st) and 20 quality starts (30th).
Blake Snell (9-4) is reported to be starting for the Rays in game 1 looking to continue his dominant brand of pitching. In his last outing, he pithed 7 innings while allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 6 strikeouts, but, had 7 walks in a 2-1 road win at Houston on 6-19-2018. This will be Snell’s first outing versus the Washington lineup, however, he has experience facing one hitter from the Nats: Mark Reynolds (0-2). Snell has been credited with only 6 runs in his last 6 starts yet he has given up 3 homers in his last 3 starts. Rays are 5-2 with Snell on the mound in his last 7 starts while the under has been the play in 4 of the last 5 appearances for the left-hander.
Pitcher for Nationals Yet to Be Determined
The Nationals come into this matchup losers of 3 of their last 5 games to where the O/U was 2-2-1. For the season, the Nationals are averaging 4.20 runs per game (21st) with a team batting average of .238 (20th), 84 homers, (18th) along with 61 stolen bases (1st). Their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.54 (6th) with 710 strikeouts (5th) along with 40 quality starts on the year (4th).
For a lineup as almost as solid as they come, the Nationals’ pitching staff has certainly struggled in their recent skid. They are losers of 9 of their last 12 games where they have surrendered an average of 4.5 runs in those losses. As stated, they are currently being roughed up by the Phillies at home in being outscored by a total of 17-5 in the first 2 games of the set. Overall, the team ERA has taken a dip due to their lackluster play, yet, they continue to rank high (within top 10) in every pitching category, particularly in WHIP (1.12). They would certainly be focused on colliding with an offense in the Rays that have only averaged 2.6 runs in their last 5 games and have struggled throughout the year in obtaining timely hits that lead to scoring opportunities.
- The Nationals are 14-3 in last 17 Monday games
- The Nationals are 2-7 in last 9 games
- The Under is 21-5 in Nationals last 26 interleague games
- The under is 7-3 in Rays last 10 interleague home games
- The under is 33-15-3 in Rays last 51 games
After their recent skid, I will not feel comfortable backing the better team in this contest (which I feel are the Nats), however, with Snell mincog to the mound in search of yet another win along with a struggling Washington Nationals lineup, I will back the under in this contest. One would have to think that the Nats will certainly be focused in which to get a win and get back into the thick of things in the NL East in catching the Braves; However, I expect this to be a typical game for both teams: Low-scoring, defensive-minded game in which not too many runs will be scored. I will not be surprised if the Rays were able to pull out an opening game win as well.