There’s value on both sides of the field heading into the June 29th Rays at Nationals matchup. Tampa Bay is a -107 favorite coming in off a 4-2 homestand and trying to make up a 1 game deficit on the Red Sox in the AL East.
Washington (-103) is only .500 on the season, but that’s good enough for 2nd place in the NL East. The Nationals are surging also, winning 12 of their last 15 while also being 22-18 at home. The Rays play well on the road overall (24-16), but have dropped six straight away from Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay Needs a Road Win
TB has lost six straight road games coming into the June 29th Rays at Nationals matchup, their longest streak of away losses since 2018. Those defeats came against the improving Mariners and at the 1st place White Sox though, so the stretch of road losses is somewhat understandable – but then again Washington is no slouch either.
The Rays do come into this game off a 6-4 home loss to the Angels as -150 favorites, but should have at least some momentum going after winning four straight prior. That includes taking two of three from 1st place Boston, and a 13-3 win over the Angels. The Tampa Bay offense has plated 4+ runs in five of their last six. Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe each have 5 RBI over their last five games.
The ageless Rich Hill (6-2, 3.52 ERA) is Tuesday’s likely TB starter, coming off a win over Boston in his last outing. The 41-year-old allowed just 3 hits and 1 ER over 5.0 IP, but had allowed 8 ER over his two starts prior (9.2 IP). Hill has won his last three decisions regardless, and has allowed 2 ER or less in 7 of his last 9.
Can Washington Keep Hitting?
The Nationals were able to close the gap in the NL East a bit, notching an 8-4 win over the Mets on Monday in a makeup of an April 3rd postponement for COVID protocols. Washington belted out 5 HRs in the win over New York, bringing the Mets lead down to 3 games in the division.
It goes without saying that Kyle Schwarber was part of the long ball brigade in Monday’s contest. Breaking news would be when Schwarber doesn’t hit a home run, as he has 11 in his last 9 games including two vs. the Mets on Monday. Trea Turner went deep for the second straight game and Ryan Zimmerman belted his 9th of the season. Look for a big night from Zimmerman on Tuesday, as he’s 6-11 (.545) with 2 HR in his career vs. Hill. Schwarber is just 1-9 with 3 K’s vs. the lefty.
Joe Ross (4-7, 4.12 ERA) gets the ball for the Nationals, trying to improve on a 1-3 record with a 5.74 ERA at home this year. The right-hander has been much better as of late, not allowing a run in 4 of his last 6 starts including Thursday at Miami where he went 7.0 scoreless.
Free June 29th Rays at Nationals Pick
Two quality teams going at it in this one, with the easy play being Washington at home behind that incredible power surge. The Rays have lost six straight on the road, and are still favored (albeit slightly). The line is saying take Tampa Bay.
Rays 5 – Nationals 3
Free Pick: Rays -107