Things got out of control in a hurry for Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx on Wednesday afternoon. Snell was hammered for 6 runs before the Rays were able to take an at-bat in the 2nd inning. All it took was two big innings for the Yankees to earn a 12-1 win. The Yankees also added 6 runs in the 7th inning. Snell was able to record just 1 out before getting pulled.
That is not good for the old ERA for Snell. His quest to repeat as the Cy Young winner of the American League takes a massive dive with that performance at Yankee Stadium. He and Jacob deGrom both face uphill odds if they want to repeat. The Rays fly out west for the weekend, while the Yankees play host to the Astros in a marquee series. The Yanks won’t be on the road until next Saturday, so this is a nice opportunity for them.
Most eyes will be on Yankee Stadium this weekend. It could prove to be a preview of the ALCS. Meanwhile, the Rays will seek to pick up the pieces in Oakland against the Athletics. They had to endure a sweep against the Yankees, setting them back 3.5 games in the AL East. With the Yankees and Rays playing close to one another throughout this season, the grand perception was that the Yankees were ultimately going to pull away. With a strong push before the All-Star Game, they might have a comfortable gap.
The Rays are just 3-7 in their previous ten games, so they have to shake this past series off and focus on the Athletics. The A’s had a productive series with a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. They’re a hot and cold team who tend to go through spurts. At 39-36, they’re putting themselves in a position to go on a run in the second-half for a wildcard.
It’s unrealistic to expect them to take a run at the Astros, but an appearance in the American League play-in game would be an accomplishment. Charlie Morton will be responsible for responding after Snell blew it against the Yankees on Wednesday. Frankie Montas will get this 15th start of the year for the A’s tonight. Head below for our free Rays vs. Athletics pick.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics Pick:
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Frankie Montas has been a nice option to go along with Mike Fiers and Brett Anderson for the Athletics. Chris Bassitt in the No. 4 slot has been a pretty effective pitcher as well. There is nothing about this rotation that is flashy. No one who casually follows baseball is going to be able to tell you about the makeup of this pitching staff. However, they get the job done and are consistent as a collective unit. No one is truly a standout, but what they can do is go through their entire rotation and get solid production.
Montas has been strong with an ERA of 2.85, which by most standards, is on the edge of being elite. He has allowed 2 runs in each of his last three outings for an ERA of 3.00 and 1.11 WHIP. This is his first season as a fulltime member of the A’s rotation and he’s been a fine addition.
He was acquired in 2016 in the Rich Hill deal with the Dodgers. I think both teams made out well there, but with Montas only 26 and Hill at the end of his career at 39 years of age, the A’s get the edge. He has been slightly less effective at home, with an ERA of 3.44 as opposed to a 2.44 ERA on the road.
This matchup should make for a quality pitching matchup with Charlie Morton pitching opposite Montas. The former Astro has found a new home in Tampa and is making the most of it. Morton will go into Oakland on Thursday with an ERA of 1.80 and 0.80 WHIP in his last three appearances.
In 20 innings he’s allowed 4 runs, which all came against the Angels in his most recent outing. He has been extremely impactful on the road, having posted an ERA of 1.59 and 1.01 WHIP in 45.1 innings. The A’s are hitting .255 with 3 home runs in 102 at-bats against Morton.
They’ve been much better against left-handed this pitching in 2019, with a .278 BA compared to a .235 against righties. Morton of course pitches right-handed. Expect a good game here between the Rays and Athletics. After messing around for the last few days in New York, I think the Rays come out strong behind Morton, though.