Rays vs. Phillies Pick MLB – July 20th

The second half of the season is already one series in and no major moves have come yet, though it is only a matter of time before the flurry begins. I can’t help but wonder if the attention and uncertainty take a toll on the players. Cole Hamels turned in his second rough outing I na row last night with a half dozen scouts from other teams watching the lefty pitch. It will be interesting to see if he makes another start as a Phillie, and if so, I’ll be keep a close eye on the line.

Meanwhile, Zach Greinke’s insane dominance continued last night (Mike Trout All Star homer be damned), running his scoreless inning streak to a staggering 43 2/3 and putting Orel Hershiser’s seemingly unbreakable mark within reasonable reach. Now we are still talking about a few MORE shutout games, but the way Greinke has been cruising, it is beginning to feel possible.

On a side note – happened to be in line next to Jacob deGrom as I was flying out of Cincinnati after the All Star Game (nice guy by the way, he had his girlfriend and their dog with them – yup. Dog). Did you know in the history of the All Star Game no one has struck out the side on a few pitches than deGrom’s 10? Impressive stuff.

Anyhow – on to today’s pick.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Tampa Bay Rays -125 at Philadelphia Phillies +115 (Total: 8.5)

Matt Moore vs. David Buchanan

Remember when the Rays had the brightest young pitching staff in baseball? Gone are Price and Shields. And Helickson and Moore have had injury issues. However, Matt Moore is back, fresh off his first win since 2013 Tommy John surgery, and looking to stretch even a bit further than his 88-pitch effort in his previous outing.

Meanwhile, opposing him is David Buchanan who enters tonight at 0-5 with a 7.68 ERA in six starts this season. In fact, the Phillies have lost 14 of 15 games with him on the mound dating back to last season prior to this season’s early demotion to the minors. He only allowed one run in five innings in his first start abck in the bigs, but banking on him to shut down any team, even one as offensively-challenged as the Rays, seems a bit ambitious.

Tampa was scuffling terribly, dropping 15 of 18 at one point. However, they have won four of their last six and been held under three runs only once. I think the 8.5 over might be a little too high given each team’s offensive woes, but I have more confidence in the Rays to win that for either team not to rough up some questionable pitchers; both for health and overall quality reasons.

I’ll take Tampa to continue their recent solid play and to earn the series-opening win in Philadelphia.

Free Pick: Tampa Bay Rays to WIN -125