The Tampa Bay Rays are on the west coast for a brief two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They were in Anaheim this past weekend, so they didn’t have to travel far to get to Dodger Stadium. Prior to Anaheim, the Rays were in Arlington for a three-game series against the Rangers.
This is the third and final stop of their road trip. They return home to play for the Yankees and Red Sox, so even though they’ll be back home, it isn’t like they have some auto wins. To wrap up the season, the Rays will be in Toronto to face a Blue Jays team who can be sneaky.
It’s an important couple of weeks for the Rays. They did their job against the Angels to go into the week with a 1.5-game lead over the Indians. The Rays were less successful against the Rangers, with losses in two out of three games. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is an easy stretch for the Rays.
Their only home games left on the schedule are against the Red Sox and Yankees. Yeah, the Red Sox are not going to the postseason and will be playing for nothing. That isn’t to say that the Red Sox can’t be a dangerous team and beat the Rays. They’re more than capable of playing a good series. Whether they care to will be the question.
The Dodgers were the first team to clinch their division. They will be playing in October as the winners of the NL West. There is still some business to be deal with for the Dodgers, though. The Dodgers can clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason, including the World Series.
The Braves are still hanging around in the National League, so it’s not out of the question they catch the Dodgers. Not easy but not impossible. Their most realistic concerns going forward are the Astros and Yankees for homefield in the World Series. Head below for our free Rays vs. Dodgers pick.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. L.A. Dodgers Pick:
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The Rays are looking at Blake Snell to keep his composure on the bump against the Dodgers tonight. He hasn’t looked anything like the Cy Young winner from last season. It feels like an eternity ago that Snell won the Cy Young, but it was just last season that he won the award for best pitcher in the American League.
Awards don’t matter so much. What is more important is sustaining that success over several seasons. Consistency is most important, like say Scherzer or Kershaw. Snell has gone from a 1.89 ERA to a 4.28 ERA this season. That was only his third season in the majors, so it was tough to say if that effort was for real.
In any event, Snell can be better than what we’ve seen this season. He has been showing signs of getting it together, though. Snell has posted an ERA of 1.12 and 1.06 WHIP. That looks great, but there is a disclaimer with that effort. He has done well at home in 2019.
The Trop hasn’t been the issue for Snell, where he has posted an ERA of 2.82 and 1.05 WHIP. If that were his overall numbers all would be well for Snell. That’s not the case, though, as Snell has struggled on the road with a 5.98 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Despite his success recently, most of those starts have come at home.
Note that Snell has allowed 2 or less runs in all of his previous four outings. However, keep in mind that three of those games were at home. Mind you, that one outing was against the Yankees on the road. However, I’m going to stick with the larger sample size and not get swayed by one productive start by Snell in another ballpark. Leading up to that game, Snell had allowed 13 earned runs in 3.2 innings across two outings.
Ross Stripling has been on fire against the Rays in his career. The Rays are hitting just .182 with no runs scored against Stripling in 22 at-bats. Stripling has been sharp with a 2.45 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in his previous three contests. The Rays need this game more, but that doesn’t always equate to a victory. Look for the Dodgers to edge out the Rays in this spot.