The Tampa Bay Rays have been playing some of their best baseball of the year recently. They were winners of eight games in a row, which included four wins over the Red Sox and a four-game sweep of the Royals. The Braves put an end to their fun yesterday, though, with a 9-5 victory. With the Phillies choking away a 3-2 lead in the 9th inning, the Braves were able to extend their lead in the NL East to 4.5 games.
The Phillies wasted a gem by Aaron Nola, as he provided his team with a comfortable 3-0 lead in the ball game. That went for nothing as the Phils watched the Nationals steal one from them. As far as the Braves see it, they’re quite content watching the Phillies crash and burn. It looks like the Braves will enter September with some breathing room in the division. The Phillies are slipping away at just about the wrong time.
This is a nice run by the Rays and all, but it doesn’t mean much in the standings. The Athletics finally woke up last season around this time, so perhaps they could use it to build on going into next season. Oakland was getting pushed around in the first-half of the season. It wasn’t until August and September that they began to put wins together.
Now we’re talking about them pushing the Astros to the brink in the AL West. With the Athletics win yesterday, they’re just 1.5 back of the ‘Stros. The Rays are the second-last team out in the American League for the final wildcard, but it’s still a 9.5-game gap. It’s looking likely that 2nd in the AL West will get a wildcard, currently in possession by the Athletics. Rookie Diego Castillo is scheduled to take on Sean Newcomb this evening in Atlanta, or at least, start the game out. Get our free Rays vs. Braves pick below.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Atlanta Braves Pick
Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.23 ERA) vs. Sean Newcomb (11-6, 3.57 ERA)
Diego Castillo has been a decent member of the bullpen for the Rays. However, he’s also gotten a couple spot starts for the Rays, but it isn’t how it seems. He hasn’t been a true starter, though. Castillo started two games out against the Red Sox and pitched just 1.2 innings despite not allowing a run. They’ve done this with other pitchers this year, notably Ryne Stanek who pitches the opening inning or two and then the Rays go to the bullpen.
Instead of a deep rotation they are utilizing a starting pitcher by committee system. 35-year-old Sergio Romo even got a start, the first of his career. It resembles more of an All-Star format than a traditional route. Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow are the only pitchers listed on the starting rotation in Tampa. Castillo enters with an ERA of 3.23 and 1.05 WHIP.
Ryan Yarbrough typically follows the starter. He enters with an ERA of 3.75 and 1.26 WHIP. The Braves are hitting Yarbrough for a .333 batting average in 18 at-bats. Newcomb counters with a 3.57 ERA for the Braves. He looked sharp in his last outing, allowing just 2 hits and no runs vs the Marlins. It was a bounce back spot for him after surrendering 7 runs to the Rockies.
He also gave up 5 runs to the Brewers a start prior. It snapped a nice streak for Newcomb where he gave up just 1-run in three straight games. In 11 at-bats against Newcomb, the Rays don’t have a hit. Matt Duffy and Daniel Robertson each have a walk but that’s it on the roster. The Braves smell blood in the water and it’s from the Phillies. After seven wins in a row, the Braves give them their second loss in two games Tuesday night.