We picked up yet another win last night to continue our hot start to the baseball season when we backed the Philadelphia Phillies against the Tampa Bay Rays. The game didn’t go quite as I thought it would as both squads had struggling starting pitchers taking the mound.
When I first looked at this matchup, I thought the over eight and a half runs looked like a great bet. Then I remembered that the Rays can’t hit, and I quickly decided to stay away from the game total and focus on the side instead.
To me, the Phillies were the no-brainer side to take as they have been playing very after a slow start. I felt we were getting the best of the starting pitching matchup as well. The game turned out to be quite the pitcher’s duel, and the Phillies didn’t take the lead until the ninth inning when Jorge Alfaro singled in Scott Kingery to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead late.
Philadelphia hung on for the win, and we cashed a ticket at a great price. Philadelphia opened as the underdogs, but it closed out at even money, and that is where we got it at. Today I am going to stay right here in Tampa Bay and break down game two of the series between the Phillies and the Rays.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in Tampa Bay Saturday for game two of a three-game series with the Rays. The Phillies are looking for the series win today as they took game one last night, 2-1, in a nail-biter.
Philadelphia has now won four straight and six out of their last seven games. The Rays struggles at the plate have continued, and they now have the lowest win total in the American League at just three wins.
The Phillies will be starting their newly acquired ace Jake Arrieta (0-0 4.50 ERA), and the Rays will counter with their best arm, Chris Archer (1-0 5.94 ERA). The Rays are -128 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 PM PST from Tropicana Field.
Jake Arrieta was once one of the best pitchers in the National League. Between 2014-2016 Arrieta won fifty games and finished in the top ten in the Cy Young Award voting all three years, winning the award in 2015.
Last year Arrieta was still very good, winning fourteen games with an ERA of just 3.53, but it was a bit of a down year for him. Most pitchers would love to have a season like Arrieta did last year but when you show that you can win twenty-two games and finish with an ERA of 1.77, the stat line he posted in 2015, you set the bar pretty high for yourself.
Arrieta was the centerpiece of the Phillies off-season moves and signaled that the Phillies were ready to win now. Arrieta wasn’t available on opening day as he got banged up in the spring, but he was able to make his first start of the season last week against Miami. They had Arrieta on a strict pitch count, and he lasted only four innings and wasn’t all that effective. He wasn’t terrible, but he did give up two earned runs. The Phillies will have Arrieta on another tight leash today, he is expected to pitch 85-90 balls this afternoon.
Chris Archer is pretty much all the Rays have left of what was once a pretty solid pitching staff. A lot of people throw around the word ace when a guy is the best pitcher on a specific team. But that doesn’t mean they are really an ace, some teams just don’t have one.
I have a hard time calling Archer an ace when he has finished the last two seasons with an ERA above four runs and has lost a combined twenty-one games. That doesn’t sound like ace material to me. Archer has been very mediocre so far this season as well. He has started three games and has not looked great in any of them. Through three games Archer has an ERA of almost six.
How can the Rays be a favorite in this game? How? I just don’t understand it. This Rays team can’t hit! I mentioned in yesterdays pick that they had scored two runs or fewer in half of their games this season, and guess what? They only scored one run again last night. This team just does not have the offensive firepower and facing a guy like Arrieta? They might not even get a hit.
I guess the fact that Archer can be somewhat serviceable at times and the Rays are at home has pushed this line towards them. And the fact that Arrieta will likely only go five or six innings limits his ability to really shut them down. But I still think the Phillies are clearly the side to take in this game.
They are playing very well right now and should be in contention for a playoff spot all year long. Tampa? They are going to ship off whatever pieces they have left before the trade deadline this year and are going to lose over a hundred games.
I will happily pick up some more dog money tonight and back the Phillies in game two. I have been betting against the Rays all season long so far and have been crushing it. And as they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So, I will take the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at +108 on the road!