We got another bad beat last night, as we went for the -1.5 Run Line via the Angels, but they only won by one. Hopefully you at least also laid some cash on them straight up, as that would have returned a win. Tonight our focus shifts to Tropicana Field, where the Tampa Bay Rays will try to keep a three-game winning streak rolling at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brew Crew continue to be a ridiculous all-or-nothing offense and seemingly can’t be trusted. A quick example arrived yesterday, as the Brewers struck out 12 times (Domingo Santana K’d 3 times!) and scored just two runs despite racking up 9 hits. They still found a way to beat the Cardinals (2-1), but this team either needs awesome pitching or their power to convert to snag wins right now.
The power is not arriving at a consistent rate, as Milwaukee has slipped out of the top spot in the NL Central and are just 4-6 over their last 10 games. Things could get even tougher for Milwaukee, as they won’t be in the hittable Miller Park and instead will have to hope their inefficient ways take off in a less potent ballpark.
The Rays look like the safer bet on the surface, as Tampa Bay is on a small roll and has also shown up more often than not (29-23) at home. Tampa Bay looks like the team to back here (and Vegas agrees) but let’s take a closer look to see if that’s the bet to take in this spot:
Milwaukee Brewers (+130) @ Tampa Bay Rays (-150) Total: 9
Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Jacob Faria (5-1, 2.93 ERA)
The Brewers are not a trash team by any means, but they rely heavily on power and the first thing that stands out here is a bad park shift (Tropicana Field is 20th in runs and HR). The other issue is they’ll be pushing Woodruff onto the mound in his MLB debut.
MLB debuts can produce a wide range of outcomes, one of which being an absolute disaster. Tampa Bay does strike out a lot, but they also have tons of power and tend to thrive at home. If they’re at all feeling it and can read Woodruff tonight, betting on the Brewers could turn out horribly very quickly.
One huge reason why that could happen is Woodruff has a history of command issues, which could lead to early walks. If that happens, it might only take a long ball or two to have the rookie spiraling out of control. Woodruff is a top prospect for the Brew Crew and he’s got some heat on his fastball, but there is reason for concern here.
On the other side, the Rays look to be in good hands with the impressive Jacob Faria toeing the rubber. The 24-year old rookie has slipped a bit lately (10 runs allowed over his last 3 starts), but he’s displayed nice K potential during his time in the big leagues and over 10 starts has showed the ability to manage games quite well. He’s gotten through some tough matchups, too, having survived the Yankees, Orioles, Tigers and Blue Jays – all on the road.
This feels like a pretty good spot for the high level version of Faria to snap back into place. Faria has been a bit of a monster in his home park, limiting opposing batters to a collective .211 batting average while producing a 3-0 record with a stellar 2.81 ERA. The real kicker is the matchup here, as the Brewers strike out more than anyone against right-handed pitching and also boast a pedestrian batting average (20th).
Milwaukee is still a dangerous lineup, to be sure, but Faria slays left-handed hitters (.167 BA) and if those limited numbers hold true, he could nullify nasty bats like Eric Thames and Travis Shaw. Faria is even nastier against righties, posting a strong 25.4% K rate against righties. Against a team that strikes out as much as the Brewers, Faria is in a pretty good spot and ultimately, so are the Rays.