The Tampa Bay Rays will conclude a five game-series on the road against Baltimore on Sunday. The Rays are on a three-game winning streak after sweeping a doubleheader against the Orioles on Thursday and winning 2-1 on Friday. The Rays hold a 5-3 edge in the season series.
**This preview was written before the two teams met on Saturday night.**
Rays eyeing top spot in AL postseasonThe Rays entered Saturday night's game with the best record in the American League at 34-18 and their magic number to clinch the division is five games.
Heading into Tuesday, the Rays were averaging five runs per game, which is 10th in the league, and hitting .240, which is 19th. Second baseman Brandon Lowe leads the Rays with a .268 batting average, 13 home runs, and 33 RBI.
The Rays pitching staff is currently 6th in MLB with a 3.74 ERA. Ryan Yarbrough, who is 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA, will be making his ninth start of the season. In his seven career starts against Baltimore, Yarbrough is 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA.
Orioles drop first three games of seriesAfter being competitive for most of the season, the Orioles have lost nine of their last 11 games ending their playoff hopes. Baltimore is 22-30 on the season and currently 4th in the AL East.
The Orioles are hitting .256 as a team, which is currently 11th best in MLB and averaging 4.6 runs per game, which is 16th. The Orioles suffered a huge set back when Anthony Santander, who was leading the team with 11 home runs and 32 RBI, sustained a season-ending oblique injury on September 4.
With Santander out of the lineup, Renato Nunez leads the team with 11 home runs and 27 RBI. Jose Iglesias leads Baltimore with a .372 batting average but has only drawn three walks against 129 at-bats and does not have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.
The 1970 Orioles dominated the league from Opening Day through the final out of the World Series. 50 years later, it remains one of the most special seasons in Orioles history.— Birdland Insider (@BirdlandInsider) September 18, 2020
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As a team, Baltimore's pitching is 15th in MLB, with a 4.45 ERA on the season. Left-handed throwing Jon Means, who is 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA, will make his ninth start. Lifetime Means is 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA against the Rays
- Rays are 9-2 in their last 11 games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Orioles are 0-5 in Means' last 5 home starts.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Rays are playing for a purpose right now and looking to clinch the division and secure the best record in the American League. The Orioles have faded head-to-head against playoff contenders down the stretch.
The Rays have performed well against lefties this season, and the Orioles are have lost seven of the eight starts that Jon Means has made this season, with five losses coming by two runs or more, struggled.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Means has pitched better lately, allowing only one earned run over six innings in his last two starts, and Yarbrough has allowed one run or less in two of his last three starts. The under has now cashed in four of the last five games for both the Rays and Orioles.