The Oakland Athletics are in St. Petersburg for the next three days for a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Athletics are coming off a rough Sunday, as they were pounded in Baltimore at Camden Yards by a score of 8-1. In any event, the Athletics were able to take two of three games against the Orioles with a 3-1 win on Friday and 7-2 on Saturday. Jesus Luzardo was tagged for 7 hits and 3 earned runs through 6.2 innings yesterday afternoon. The Athletics are off to a 14-8 start in 2021 a season after winning the AL West with a record of 36-24. They had a massive seven-game edge on the Houston Astros for the win in the division.
What happened is the Athletics took advantage of a weak division last season. They were the only team to finish with a record of above .500. The Astros weren’t interested, as they were just getting over the shock of the cheating scandal. It was a 60-game campaign and clear that their heads weren’t into it at all. The Angels are the Angels and choked again with a record of 26-34. That was a good season for the Angels to win the NL West with the Astros not caring. Instead, the Athletics had a free pass with no competition around them.
It feels like a long time ago or people have already forgotten, but the Rays went to the World Series last year believe it or not. Nobody remembers the team that finished in second, and that has to be true regarding the Rays. They were only two games away from winning the World Series. Oh so close, and now the Rays are not in a position to go back to the World Series to try to clean up some unfinished business. They lost two critical pieces in their rotation with the departure of Charlie Morton and Blake Snell. The Rays couldn’t afford to lose two of their best pitchers and go back to the World Series.
The Rays head into Monday with a mark of 11-11. The AL East hasn’t been good by any means, so that’s good for second in the division. The Red Sox at 14-9 are the only team in the AL East currently above .500 in the AL East. Tampa is coming off two losses in three games against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend. They lost the rubber match on Sunday afternoon in a 1-0 final. Head below for our free Athletics vs. Rays pick on April 26, 2021.
Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays MLB Betting Odds:
Athletics vs. Rays Prediction:
The replacements for Charlie Morton and Blake Snell were Chris Archer and Rich Hill. That’s quite the downgrade. Maybe if this was five years ago that’d be fine, but Archer isn’t the same pitcher he was in his first stint with the Rays. As far as Hill is concerned, his arm has looked dead this season. Hill was never a flame throwing pitcher to begin with, but his velocity is down and it’s been adding up to a lot of earned runs.
Hill goes into Monday with an ERA of 8.82 and 1.53 WHIP through four games and 16.1 innings. He’s known for being a guy that has a terrific breaking ball and hits his spots. When the breaking ball isn’t working for Hill, he doesn’t have any other options in his arsenal. Hill certainly isn’t going to blow a team with his fastball.
Hill has given up 4 earned runs in all four of his performances this season. In his most recent outing, Hill conceded 4 hits and 4 earned runs against the Kansas City Royals in KC. That was without surrendering a home run. Hill got himself into trouble with putting runners on the bases and wasn’t able to fight his way out of the jams. The Athletics are hitting just .135 against Hill in 19 at-bats, but Hill hasn’t been in this bad of form in the past.
At 41 years old, Hill appears to be running out of gas finally. We’ll see if he can turn it around at home against the A’s on Monday. He must be much better than he was in his last two tilts. Sean Manaea will counter for the Athletics Manaea has been in solid form with an ERA of 3.04 and 1.18 WHIP through 23.2 innings of work in 2021. He wasn’t himself last year, as Manaea had a career-low ERA of 4.50.
Manaea was coming off an injury, so he might have been using that season to shake off the rest. He has looked much better this season, especially in his last three outings where Manaea has posted a 1.42 and 1.00 WHIP. He gave up 5 earned runs in his first start of the season against the Astros, but has conceded just 3 earned runs in his last 19 innings since then. Give me Manaea and the A’s to open this series in Tampa with a win.