Rays vs. Rangers Pick MLB

The Baltimore Orioles have hit more homeruns than any other team in baseball this season. And they tacked two on to that total at a most inopportune time (for me) last night, belting two homers in the bottom of the 8th to spoil Michael Pineda’s successful return to the rotation. Pineda was in line for a 2-1 win before a four run eighth spoiled the fun.

As a result, the Orioles move to seven games ahead of the Yankees and 6 ½ clear in the AL East. Barring a complete collapse, it looks like Buck Shoewalter and the Orioles are heading back to the Playoffs for the second time in three years after a decade and a half drought.

We took a tough loss last night, but let’s look to get a winner tonight. It’s a limited slate, but there’s one AL matchup I like…

Today’s Free Pick:

Tampa Bay Rays -133 at Texas Rangers +125 (Total: 9)

Jake Odorizzi (8-9, 3.89 ERA) vs. Robbie Ross (2-4, 5.61 ERA)

The Rays are probably too far back of too many teams to legitimately get back in the race, but they have made the season at least interesting and tolerable. They’ve won five of their last seven games and are approaching an odd record, having given up three or less runs in 17 straight road games. Only the 1908 Cubs have cobbled together a longer mark. I’m not saying I buy that as a legit “record” but it is a helluva nice pitching/defense streak at the very least.

My biggest question is WHY isn’t Texas much bigger underdogs tonight?? The Rays have the starting pitching advantage, they’ve been playing much better baseball than the Rangers both in the immediate and over the last few months, their offensive numbers are dead even, and the Rays have a much better bullpen.

The Rangers are throwing Robbie Ross tonight, who struggled with the Rangers before being sent down to Red Rock. He has pitched OK in his last five AAA starts, posting a 2.91 ERA, however in his four appearances prior to that (in AAA) he posted a 10.91 ERA. The point is, there isn’t a ton of sustained evidence of success for Robbie Ross, and installing him and the worst team in the American League as slim dogs tonight against Odorizzi seems a little ambitious.

The Rays are my play tonight. Odorizzi is 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his last four road starts, keeping right in line with the Rays pitching dominance. I like them to score a few runs, hold the Rangers in check, and capture a nice win tonight. I’m doubling up on this game and taking a runline play on the Rays with a big value as well.

Free Pick: Tampa Bay Rays to WIN -133 & Tampa Bay -1.5 (+125)