7:10 p.m. ET – Athletics (-115) at Rays O/U: 8.5
The 15-8 Athletics take on the 11-12 Rays in Game Two of a four-game series at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night. Game One went to Oakland, which has now won 14 of its last 15 games. Left-hander Sean Manaea allowed one run on four hits through five innings of work.
About the Athletics
Oakland is the hottest team in baseball, mainly because of its pitching over the past two weeks. Before they ripped off their recent 12-game win streak (which ended last Sunday with an 8-1 loss at Baltimore), the Athletics had the highest ERA in baseball at 5.85. Over the last 15 outings, they have lowered it down to 4.30.
Hitting has not been an issue this season, either, with Oakland averaging 4.5 runs per game, the eighth-most in all of baseball. Despite playing their home games in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the majors, the Athletics have managed to hit 29 long balls this year, sixth-most in the big leagues.
First baseman Matt Olson has emerged as a superstar in the early going, batting .301 with six home runs and 17 RBI this April. A career .248 hitter, Olson has always hit for power, but if he can continue to hit for average he will be an American League MVP candidate come season’s end. All of this success has come with third baseman Matt Chapman struggling, as he’s batting .154 to start the year. Once Chapman gets going at the plate this team will become even more dangerous than the version that just rattled off 12 wins in a row.
About the Rays
The defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays cannot seem to string together any series wins this season. This is despite the fact that the Rays are scoring 4.5 runs per game, tied with Oakland for eighth in the majors.Second baseman Joey Wendle is leading the offense in the early going with a .319 batting average, three home runs and 15 RBI.
Helping Wendle out has been 2020 ALCS MVP Randy Arozerana, who is batting .301 with three home runs and 10 RBI this April. But the lineup needs more consistent production from the bottom half if they want to be able to string wins together and repeat as American League East champions.
The pitching staff has been just as inconsistent, if not more, allowing the eighth-most runs in all of baseball at 4.7. Tampa Bay has been built on its pitching throughout Kevin Cash’s tenure as manager, and if they do not find a way to slow down opposing lineups, this team is going to be a one-hit playoff wonder.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Oakland Athletics||-1½ (+145)||-110||O 8½ (-105)|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1½ (-170)||-110||U 8½ (-115)|
The Pitching Matchup
Right-hander Frankie Montas will be toeing the rubber for Oakland. Montas is 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 18.2 innings spread across four starts. Montas has had two great outings and two outings where he has not gone more than four innings and allowed over six runs.
The Rays are giving the ball to right-hander Michael Wacha to try and even up the series. Wacha has been middle of the road this season with a 4.36 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched over four starts. Wacha started the year shaky, but has thrown 11.2 innings in his past two starts combined while allowing only three runs.
The Rays should be able to find success against Montas who has struggled this season against opponents not named the Tigers and the Astros, the teams who were shorthanded when he faced them.