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Philadelphia Phillies vs Tampa Bay Rays – April 13th

The strategy of bet on the Angels every day and win every day paid off again last night. I backed the Angels as small road favorites against the Kansas City Royals. Royals starter, Ian Kennedy, managed to hold back this surging Angels offense for his six innings of work, but as soon as he left the game the floodgates opened, and the Angels blasted the Royals pen for six runs in three innings.

The big hit came from who else, but Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, who blasted a base-clearing three-run triple that blew the game wide open. My daily picks article has seemingly turned into an Ohtani fan club as I can’t stop raving about what he has done in his short time in the league.

This guy has just twenty-six at-bats on the season and already has eleven RBIs, not to mention he is 2-0 as a starting pitcher. Truly remarkable stuff and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Today I am going to break down the matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays in an inter-league game.

The Philadelphia Phillies head to Tampa Bay Friday night for game one of a three-game series with the Rays. The Phillies are heating up after a slow start and find themselves winners of five out of their last six games, including a three-game sweep against the Cincinnati Reds in their last series. Philly will send Vince Velasquez (1-1 5.19 ERA) to the mound. For Tampa, the Rays have struggled badly, and with just three wins on the season are tied with the Kansas City Royals for the lowest win total in the American League. The Rays will start Jake Faria (0-1 14.29 ERA) tonight. This game is an even pick ‘em as both teams are currently -110. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Tropicana Field.

If you are a daily ready of my picks articles you may have picked up on a trend. I bet against the Tampa Bay Rays, a lot. They just don’t have much talent this season, either on the mound or in their lineup. I went a little bit out on a limb before the season started and predicted the Rays would lose over a hundred games this year. Well, they haven’t disappointed yet. At 3-9 they are likely the worst team in the American League so far this year, and the guy they are starting on the mound tonight is a big reason why.

Tampa will start Jake Faria tonight in game one. Faria has been absolutely terrible so far this season in his two starts. He has lasted a total of five and two-thirds of an inning and has given up nine earned runs! Even worse he seems to just give games away as he has walked eight batters in his two starts. It is hard to get through a start if you are issuing free passes all afternoon long and that is what Faria has done so far this season. Faria was actually pretty decent last season as he made his MLB debut as a mid-season call-up. He went just 5-4 but had a respectable ERA of 3.43. Tampa had hoped that he would take a big leap this season as a regular starter, but after two starts they are already considering pulling him from the rotation. Ouch.

The Phillies will counter with another young starter, Vince Velasquez. Velasquez hasn’t been nearly as bad as Faria has been this year, but he hasn’t been very good either. Velasquez got absolutely hammered in his first start against the Braves. He got pounded for seven runs in just two and two thirds. He was much better in his second start of the season, when he picked up the win against the Marlins, going six innings and allowing just one run. Velasquez is in a similar spot as Faria, the Phillies are really hoping he can take a big step forward and become a regular in the rotation of what Philly hopes is a playoff team.

My first reaction to this game was to jump all over the over. With these two starters that have shown they can give up eight runs by themselves, a game total of eight seemed like a great value spot. Then I remembered that Tampa Bay can’t hit a lick and backed off of it. In their twelve games this year, the Rays have scored two runs or less in half of them. And while eight is a reasonable number, it is hard to get there if one team doesn’t score. So, while I will certainly lean towards the over in this one I have decided to take a stance on the side end of the game instead.

As I mentioned above I have had a strategy of bet the Angels every day and win every day. I have also had a strategy of bet against the Rays every day and win every day! And I am going to continue with that tonight. The Phillies are actually looking decent over the last week or so and are scoring lots of runs. They exploded for twenty runs last week against the Marlins. But this bet is most certainly a bet against the Rays and their starter Jake Faria as much as it is a bet on the Phillies. The Phillies actually opened as small dogs in this one and the overnight sharps have evened this number up. I am going to get on the same side as the wise guys tonight and back the Phillies on the road at an even pick ‘em. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies -110 tonight!

The Bet: Philadelphia Phillies -110

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