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Rays pitching leads the way
The Rays haven’t had a great second half of the month. They have lost 8 of their last 12 games and have dropped into second place in the AL East. After a weekend split with the Oakland A’s, they are now 45-33, 5 games behind the first place Yankees. they have a tough stretch coming up this week facing the AL Central-leading Twins followed by a weekend series against the Rangers — who have been playing great ball.
The Rays offense has sputtered over this stretch. They average 4.6 runs per game, which is 19th in the league. They have a team batting average of .259, which is 9th in the league and they have a slugging percentage of .430, which is 16th. Austin Meadows leads the Rays with a batting average of .304 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs. Brandon Lowe is batting .282 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs, while Ji-Man Choi is batting .269 with 9 HRs and 30 RBIs. Yanny Diaz is batting .286 with 11 HRs and 31 RBIs, while Tommy Pham is batting .294 with 11 HRs and 33 RBIs. Also, Garcia is batting .294 with 11 HRs and 35 RBIs, while Kevin Kiermaier is hitting .248 with 8 HRs and 32 RBIs. Diaz is questionable.
Twins see AL Central lead dwindle
The Twins have seen their once massive lead in the AL Central dwindle in recent weeks. They have lost 5 of their last 8 games, including a split over the weekend to the lowly Kansas City Royals. Meanwhile, the Indians have gotten hot and cut the lead Twins lead to 7.5 games. The Twins still own the best record in the American League at 50-27, but they face a tough Rays team this week.
The Twins offense has been phenomenal. They lead the majors in just about every category. They average 5.7 runs per game, which is 1st in the Majors. They hit .271 as a team, which is also first, and they have a slugging percentage of .502, which is first. Also, they are first in home runs, too. Jorge Polanco leads the Twins hitting .326 with 11 HRs and 38 RBIs. Eddie Rosario is batting .269 with 20 HRs and 57 RBIs, while CJ Cron is batting .281 with 17 HRs and 50 RBIs. Jonathan Schoop is batting .258 with 12 HRs and 33 RBIs. Two of their best hitters while Mitch Garver is batting .301 with 11 HRs and 28 RBIs. Also, Nelson Cruz is hitting .266 with 13 HRs and 36 RBIs while Max Kepler is hitting .274 with 19 HRs and 51 RBIs. Garver and Schoop are both on the injury report.
— David Erickson (@derickson) June 21, 2019
The Twins pitching has been almost as good. They have a team ERA of 3.97, which is 7th in the league. They have a team WHIP of 1.27, which is also 7th. they also have their ace, Jake Odorizzi, taking the mound on Wednesday. The left-hander is 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA. He’s tied for first in baseball in wins and is 5th in ERA. but he did lose to the Royals last time out, giving up 4 runs in 4 innings.
- Twins are 1-4 last 5 when their opponent allows 5 runs or more in their previous game.
- Rays are 19-7 in their last 26 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.
- Rays are 10-4 in their last 14 during game 2 of a series.
- Rays are 21-10 in their last 31 vs. American League Central.
- Rays are 27-58 in their last 85 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Rays are 5-0 in Morton’s last 5 starts vs. American League Central.
- Rays are 5-1 in Morton’s last 6 starts following a team loss in their previous game.
- Rays are 7-2 in Morton’s last 9 road starts.
- Rays are 6-2 in Morton’s last 8 starts on grass.
- Rays are 5-2 in Morton’s last 7 starts with 5 days of rest.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take the Rays here. This one should be fun. This will be an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel as the two best pitchers in the AL — Morton and Odorizzi — hook up in an important game for both teams. Both pitchers have been great, but I give the edge to Morton here. He doesn’t have the high-powered offense behind him that Odorizzi has, plus he’s just been consistently better. And he has had 5 days rest, which makes him hard to beat. Also, the Rays are 21-10 in the last 31 meetings in Minnesota.
Prediction: Tampa Bay +110
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under here. This is a no-brainer. This game will, without a doubt, be played in the under. These two pitchers don;’t give up many runs, so expect a low-scoring 2-1, 3-2 type game. The under is 16-4-1 in Rays last 21 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600 and 4-0 in Mortons last 4 starts with 5 days of rest. Also, the under is 4-1 in Twins last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning record and 5-1-1 in Odorizzis last 7 home starts.