The Tampa Bay Rays are finally playing good baseball, the problem is that they are incredibly far back to make a push to the front. The Rays could go the rest of the season undefeated and they’d still come up short. At 51-70 that’ll happen to you. Some people had the Rays as the surprise team of 2016, but all they’ve been is their usual selves, which equates to being underachievers. When the Rays parted ways with David Price a couple years back, it signaled the end of an era in Tampa, and what many saw as a rebuilding phase for them. There was the one camp that had them in rebuilding mode, and another claiming they’re going to be the shockers of 2016. It goes without saying that the Rays appear to be in a rebuilding stage. However, there has been one veteran, a Rays’ mainstay, Evan Longoria, playing great baseball for his team lately.
Longoria at 30 years old, isn’t too far out of his prime years. He’s making the best of things at the moment though, as he’s putting together one of the best years of his career. He’s already surpassed the last two seasons in the home run department, currently with 28 home runs, compared to 21 and 22. He is five back of his career high of 33. In his last eight games, Longoria has hit 3 long balls, along with 10 RBIs. He’s been hot, and the Rays have been playing well, too. The Rays took care of business yesterday in a big way, stomping on the Rangers for a 8-2 final. The Rays haven’t had much to celebrate this year, but they’ve been looking good lately. Tampa will go for their sixth win in their last seven games tonight.
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Martin Perez (8-8, 4.09 ERA) vs. Drew Smyly (5-11, 4.85 ERA)
Perez has done an adequate job for the Rangers this season. He’s dazzled at times and looked a bit lost in other moments. Perez is one of the most all over the map pitchers in baseball. He can show up and pitch 1 run baseball, or he can get dinged for 7 or 8 runs with ease. If he could become more consistent, the Rangers would have an ace on their hands. As it is though, you can’t allow 6, 7, and 11 runs and be looked at as an ace. In his last ten starts, Perez has given up 11, 7, 6, and 5 runs a couple of times. Then conversely, he’s also surrendered only 1 and 2 runs a handful of times. His inconsistencies have produced an ERA of 4.09.
The great majority of his rough outings have come on the road. If he only started at home, he would have a sub-3.00 ERA. On the road Perez has notched a lackluster ERA of 6.00, with a 1.58 WHIP and .359 OBA. Smyly has had an up and down season as well, but has been on top his stuff over the last few weeks. The last time he’s surrendered more than 2 runs was back on July 18th in Colorado. Since then he’s allowed 1, 2, 2, 2, and 1 runs. His ERA has looked good in his last three, posting a 2.25 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Looking at the price in this game, it doesn’t make much sense. As an underdog, the public is favoring the Rangers in this spot. It looks appealing enough, but the odds makers have made the Rays a bigger favorite. This one should be a pick, yet the Rays are catching -125 on the money line. I think the odds makers know what’s up this afternoon, and I’m going to side with them on Tampa.
PICK: RAYS TO WIN -125