Well, I guess the Tampa Bay Rays had to lose at some point. After reeling off twelve straight wins at home and seventeen out of twenty overall, the Rays came up just a bit short last night as they hosted the Cleveland Indians. I have been riding this bandwagon for several weeks very profitably, so it didn’t hurt too bad to give one back n this one. The game itself was a very tight one as both teams really struggled to score runs.
Indians rookie Shane Bieber had the best start of his young career as he pitched six and two-thirds shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eleven. It was a competitive game with a playoff atmosphere, and I look forward to game three tonight to see what other drama this series has in store for us. And for my daily pick today I will stay right here with this series and break down game three of the series between the Indians and the Rays.
The Cleveland Indians would love to pick up the series win tonight and essentially put an end to this pesky Rays team playoff dreams. The Indians have long ago locked up their division title, and their magic number is creeping closer and closer to zero, and they should be able to officially wrap up the division title this week. For the Rays, they can’t really afford to drop any games at this point and would need to basically run the table to get back into things. I know it sounds far-fetched but this team just reeled off seventeen wins in twenty games, so they showed the world they are capable of putting together a run to get back into contention.
Starting tonight for the Rays is their ace, Blake Snell (18-5 2.06 ERA) and for the Indians, it is Carlos Carrasco (16-8 3.41 ERA). The Indians are -111 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at six and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 AM PST from Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay.
Blake Snell is really, really good and only getting better. A lot of the hype surrounding this Tampa Bay Rays team has been the fact that they have moved away from traditional starters and have gone to a bullpen by committee approach that has been very successful. One guy that has remained a traditional starter for the Rays has been Blake Snell.
At one point right after the July 31st trade deadline. Snell was the only true starting pitcher on the Rays 25-man roster. Snell has been elite all season long and is very much in the mix for the American League Cy Young Award. At this point, it’s a three-man race with the Indians Corey Kluber, who got pounded by the Rays two days ago, and the Red Sox Chris Sale.
On the season Snell is amongst the league leaders in all categories. Wins, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, this kid has really done it all this season for Tampa Bay. The Rays have won twelve out of his last ten starts. During that stretch, he has allowed two runs or fewer in eleven of those games, one run or fewer in ten of them. Teams just don’t score on Blake Snell this year.
He started against this Cleveland team two weeks ago and dominated. In six and two-thirds of an inning of work, Snell allowed just one earned run and struck out nine, and the Rays went on to win the game. Snell has been good everywhere this season, but at home, he has been close to historically good. In twelve home starts, Snell is 9-1 with a 1.23 ERA. That is close to unbelievable for an American League pitcher.
The Indians Carlos Carrasco is used to getting second billing. He plays second fiddle to Corey Kluber on a daily basis and won’t be the best starter on the mound tonight in this one either. But that doesn’t mean this guy isn’t really good. Carrasco has had another very strong season for the Indians, but he has been a little up and down.
At times he is basically unhittable. In thirteen of his twenty-eight starts this season he has allowed either one or no runs. But he has had the occasional blowup game mixed in that has kept him out of the Cy Young Award talk. Seven different times this season Carrasco has allowed at least five earned runs in a start. So, while he has been mostly great, at times, he can’t be trusted. His most recent blowup start? Last week against these Rays where he got pummeled for five runs, all earned, in six and a third inning of work, the Indians lost the game.
I don’t care who they are playing, Blake Snell should not be an underdog at home. Period. This guy has just been too good at home to be picking up dog money. The last time Snell picked up a losing decision at home? May 8th! And in that game, he only allowed one run and was a hard-luck 1-0 loser to the Atlanta Braves. So, he could very easily be undefeated at home this year. Throw in the fact that the Rays are steaming hot and I love backing Snell at home getting dog money in this one.
This series has been a tough one to nail down, but I am confident we are on the right side today. Give me the Tampa Bay Rays as small home underdogs today in game three from Tampa Bay at +101!