I will go and say it. The only people interested in this game tonight will be the people with money on the game. There will be diehard Ray and Oriole fans watching it I’m sure, but this one is all about the cash. Saying diehard and Rays fans in the same sentence feels a bit weird, so I might have to take that one back. I know a couple of them, my apologies to you if you’re reading this article today. The Rays and Orioles both put themselves out of playoff contention with their play in the last month. There was the chance either might squeak into the postseason if they played their cards right in the final month or two, but they essentially went in opposite directions. In some ways, it has been the same pattern for the Rays and Orioles. Both were right there with a shot, but neither rose up to the opportunity. So in other words, this has led to this series being pretty meaningless.
Why are the Rays playing in such a game at this point? Well, the pitching of Matt Moore is part of the problem. Every team has that X-factor. We know the players that are near sure things season to season. For instance, it’s almost guaranteed Clayton Kershaw is going to perform. When I say X-factor, I refer to players that are on the fence at the start of the season of either being good or big liabilities to their teams. Moore has shown in the past that he has the ability to pitch well. He hasn’t had a year where he has posted anything more than a 4.00 ERA. An injury hit him last season, limiting him into 2015, and by all accounts he hasn’t been able to regain his form. Moore takes on Chris Tillman of the Orioles tonight.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Chris Tillman (9-11, 5.21 ERA) vs. Matt Moore (1-4, 8.42 ERA)
There are some pitchers that bounce back from Tommy John surgery and they are the same pitcher. Conversely, the opposite can happen, where the shoulder injury was too much to overcome. So far in Moore’s return, it is looking like he isn’t the same pitcher that we were watching before the injury. He hasn’t gotten back into rhythm at all, which has resulted in him putting up a 8.42 ERA this season. He has only had 8 starts, as they brought him back to the rotation slowly, but it hasn’t seemed to matter. In 6-2 of his right starts, Moore allowed 4 or more runs. His last three starts have produced a 9.95 ERA and 1.97 WHIP. In three of his last four starts, Moore allowed 5 or more runs in each. I find it difficult to be able to back Moore.
On the flip side, I find it difficult to back Chris Tillman as well. If you think it’s impossible to be worse than Moore in his last three starts, think again. Tillman has posted an ERA of 11.17 in his last three, including a 1.92 WHIP. In other words, Tillman and Moore are putting on nearly an average of 4 runners per inning combined. Tillman is also worse on the road, with a 5.79 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. Sometimes results in baseball don’t always make sense. That is why you practice proper bankroll management techniques. If the OVER does not hit in this game, it doesn’t make much sense given the information I just presented. Nevertheless, I am going to follow the numbers in this matchup and look for a high scoring affair in Tampa.
PICK: OVER 8 RUNS (-110)