The Tampa Bay Rays (65-55, 28-23 home) begin a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels (52-69, 26-33 away) with the series opener Monday night in Florida. Los Angeles makes the cross-country trek with a 2-1 head-to-head series advantage over the Rays this season.
The first pitch of the opener is at 7:10 p.m. EST inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Tampa Bay opens as a heavy favorite at -210, and the over-under total is seven runs.
What to Know – Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles comes to Florida after back-to-back series losses to Seattle and Detroit. The Angels lost their final two contests to the Tigers and have won just once over their last six games. Los Angeles sits in fourth place in the American League West.
Left-hander Tucker Davidson (2-3, 6.75 ERA, 1.74 WHIP) is the expected starter for the Angels. The 26-year-old picked up his first victory in a Los Angeles uniform last week after joining the squad in a trade with the Atlanta Braves. Davidson is 1-1 in two starts with L.A.
After missing just over a month of action, star outfielder Mike Trout returned to the Angels’ lineup for the weekend series against Detroit.
Trout remains one of the best players in baseball when healthy, launching 24 home runs and driving in 51 runs over 82 games. Shohei Ohtani leads the Angels with 27 home runs and 72 RBIs.
The Angels are 27th in the majors, hitting .227 as a team and scoring 3.8 runs per game. The pitching staff for Los Angeles sports a 3.88 team earned run average, 15th-ranked in the league.
What to Know – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have won two in a row and seven of their last nine contests over the last ten days. Tampa Bay’s winning stretch has moved them into a tie for second in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays, just eight games back of the New York Yankees.
On the hill for the hosts is expected to be lefty Jeffrey Springs (5-3, 2.52 ERA, 1.06 WHIP). Springs has enjoyed success in a starting role since transitioning out of the bullpen midway through the first half of the season. The 29-year-old has victories in two of his last three starts and has only surrendered three earned runs over 16 innings in August.
Tampa’s offense runs through the bat of Randy Arozarena. The talented outfielder leads the team with 16 home runs and 64 RBIs. Yandy Diaz has scored 53 runs and has the highest batting average in the lineup (.278). Isaac Paredes is having a career year with 14 home runs and 34 RBIs at just 23 years old.
Tampa Bay averages 4.1 runs per contest and rank 21st in the majors batting .238 as a team. The Rays’ pitching staff is fourth in the MLB featuring a 3.38 team ERA.
The Pick is In
The guys in Vegas think there won’t be many runs scored in this one, and we agree with them. Tampa Bay and Los Angeles have two offenses that struggle to get runs across home plate. The pitchers should own the evening, with the Rays edging out the visitors in a close battle.
The Pick: Tampa Bay ML