Rays vs. Angels MLB Pick – May 3, 2021

It’s a 10-game all-evening schedule in Major League Baseball tonight with plenty of opportunity to get our week started on the right note.

With that in mind, let’s check out this Rays vs. Angels MLB pick from Anaheim!

  • Season Record: 5-5
  • Units: -0.64

Rays vs. Angels Betting Odds

  • Rays (-161)
  • Angels (+148)
  • Rays -1.5 (-105)
  • Angels +1.5 (-115)
  • Over 8 (-120)
  • Under 8 (+100)

Rays vs. Angels MLB Pick Breakdown

Rays

Starting Pitcher

An early Cy Young contender in the junior circuit, right-hander Tyler Glasnow goes for the road side tonight as the strikeout artist has absolutely dealt through the first six starts and 37.2 innings of his season.

Entering this one, Glasnow has carved up opposing hitters to the tune of a  1.67 ERA/1.70 FIP while his 1.92 xERA and 2.50 SIERA suggest he’s indeed been dominant. In addition to the run-suppression, Glasnow has posted a monster 13.38 K/9 on the season, a number that ranks him sixth in all of baseball among starting pitchers.

In addition to his sixth-ranked K/9 clip, Glasnow also ranks fifth in ERA, fourth in xERA, fourth in FIP and fourth in fWAR (1.7). At the end of the day, he’s a legitimate top-five MLB pitcher right now as he carries a wealth of momentum into this one.

It’s not as if he has seen consistent inferior opposition. He’s made starts against the Marlins and Rangers, but has also faced the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and A’s, all of whom sport offenses more than capable of doing damage if you aren’t on your game.

His last outing was absolutely filthy as Glasnow hurled seven shutout frames with 10 strikeouts at home against the A’s, the second time in five starts he’s gone 7+ with 10+ strikeouts after going 7.2 innings with 14 punchouts against the Rangers in mid-April.

The Angels are no pushover, but Glasnow is an absolute stud entering this one.

Offense

Consistent offense has been a little but of a concern for the Rays this season as they haven’t hit for much average or power.

The Rays enter this one tied for 22nd with a .298 wOBA on the season, hitting just .223 as a team with a .145 isolated power (ISO), both of which hang around the league’s bottom 10.

Thing are actually nearly identical against both lefties and righties as the Rays own a 20th-ranked .295 wOBA versus righties with a .145 ISO against both pitchers’ handedness. They’re also striking out too much and not walking enough to make up for the punchouts or lack of power.

Now, it’s an offense that found its legs a little bit in a 5-4 series-ending win over the Astros yesterday afternoon. Prior to that effort, the Rays had scored just 10 runs over their previous six games, good for a cool 1.67 runs per game.

I mean, this is more or less the same offense that hovered around the middle of the pack last season. One difference was supposed to be a full season’s worth of playoff hero Randy Arozarena, but Arozarena has scuffled at the plate, posting a .131 ISO and huge 32.7% strikeout rate. His .264 xwOBA is well below his actual .332 mark, and his 122 wRC+ seems to be a bit misleading considering the lack of power and huge strikeout rate, not to mention an unsustainable .400 BABIP.

This offense should regress positively somewhat as the season moves along, but pitchers dominated hitters in the month of April, so Tampa is far from the only club looking to get more out of their at-bats as the season moves along.

Bullpen

One area the Rays have been able to hang their hat on in recent years has been their bullpen, but that hasn’t exactly been the case here so far in 2021.

Entering this one, the Rays’ bullpen ranks 22nd with a 4.39 ERA, although their 3.85 FIP is much better and sits 11th league wide. Still, we’re talking about one of the very best bullpens in baseball over the last two seasons here and similar results have yet to been had through the first month of the season

They aren’t striking out many with an 8.14 K/9 that ranks 28th and while the walks are in check, their 38.9% ground-ball rate is the fourth-lowest in baseball. Among the bottom-four in that department, Tampa’s 0.94 HR/9 is the bet of the group and actually by far the best over the bottom seven ground-ball bullpens in baseball. That home-run rate is unsustainable given the ground-ball rate.

Its not all bad, however, if you are inclined to consider the Statcast data. The Rays’ 34.7% hard-hit rate against is the sixth-best in baseball and their 87.9 mph average exit velocity ranks ninth. Their 8% barrel rate sits right in the middle of the pack at 17th.

They’re without Nick Anderson until July due to an elbow issue, leaving them without one of their high-leverage arms that were used heavily last season. Closer Diego Castillo has been good with a 3.38 ERA/3.34 FIP, although those numbers are even elevated by his standards.

We’ll see if the group can find its groove moving forward.

Angels

Starting Pitcher

Originally, it was Shohei Ohtani scheduled to get the starting nod for the Angels in this one, but after getting hit on the elbow by a pitch in yesterday’s game in Seattle, it will be southpaw Jose Quintana starting in his place as he’ll move up a day from his projected start tomorrow.

Quintana has struggled mightily this season — his first with the Angels — as he has been torched to the tune of a 10.13 ERA across four starts and just 13.1 innings. Usually quite reliable up until his injury-filled 2020 season, Quintana also owns a 5.14 FIP, 4.64 xFIP, 5.70 xERA and 5.12 SIERA, all of which indicate he has indeed been very poor to this point in the season.

All this despite actually seeing his ground-ball rate increase to 54.1% so far on the young season. Quintana is yielding 46.2% hard contact according to Statcast and while his BABIP against is .432, he ranks in the league’s 27th percentile in average exit velocity, 21st in hard-hit rate, 30th in barrel rate, 13th in xERA, 13th in xwOBA and 30th in xBA. Not good.

He was shelled for five earned runs on six hits, two homers and two walks in a loss in Texas his last time out, and that’s not exactly a high-powered Rangers offense. He allowed allowed nine runs across just five innings in his first two starts of the season combined, and has really only had one good start of the four this season in the form of five innings of one-run ball against the Rangers two starts back.

Offense

The Angels’ offense has certainly been a strong point this season despite having their hands full with Glasnow in this one tonight.

In fact, they’ve been one of the Majors’ best offenses against right-handed pitching as they sit fourth with a .333 wOBA versus righties and that’s largely without Anthony Rendon who has missed much of the season with a groin injury. Their 6% walk rate versus righties is actually the worst mark in the majors and their 30.4% FanGraphs hard-hit rate ranks 21st, the latter of which might suggest that their .322 BABIP off righties — third-highest in the Majors — should regress moving forward.

It was Jekyll and Hyde for this Angels offense in their final two games with the Mariners over the weekend as they broke out the lumber with 10 runs in a victory on Saturday before being dealt a 2-0 shutout loss by Justus Sheffield and the league-leading Mariners bullpen on Sunday. They’ve exploded for nine runs or more on two occasions over their last five, but have otherwise scored four runs or fewer in eight of their last 10 with an average of 3.00 runs per game during that time.

It’s been a quality offense by the numbers, but the run production is seemingly a little inconsistent on a game-to-game basis.

Bullpen

I’m having a hard time deciding on whether or not this Angels bullpen is any good or not.

I mean, their advanced numbers from the truncated 2020 season told us they deserved better than their bottom-10 ERA figure. This season, it’s more of the same.

The Angels enter this one sporting a 4.96 bullpen ERA that puts them 26th in the league. That said, they also own a 3.82 FIP and 3.66 xFIP, numbers that rank ninth and sixth, respectively. I mean, if you add 2020 and the first month of 2021 together, you’re still looking at about a half-season’s worth of sample size, so perhaps they’ve just been unlucky, plain and simple.

I mean, their .317 BABIP against is the highest mark in baseball and their 46.3% ground-ball rate is the sixth-best mark in the bigs. Additionally, their 34.7% Statcast hard-hit rate against is the lowest in the game and their 6.6% barrel rate ranks third.

So, yes, I do believe this Angels bullpen as been vastly unlucky considering they own the best hard-hit rate, yet the worst BABIP. I smell major positive regression moving forward.

Rays vs. Angels MLB Pick

Originally, I had the Rays here with Ohtani scheduled to pitch. They were -110 at that point, nice value with Glasnow on the mound. Now, they’re still -161 on the moneyline, but man that’s a lot of juice to lay in this league.

Rather, I’m going for the total here.

Sure, Quintana has been brutal by just about every stat or metric you can find. But here’s a guy with a career 3.78 ERA/3.66 FIP with excellent control, something that’s seemingly abandoned him in the form of an 878 BB/9 on the season. When it comes to Quintana, I don’t believe he’ll be nearly this poor moving forward. Even with poor peripherals, they’re still half of his ERA figure, his ground-ball rate is good and he’s suffered brutal batted-ball luck in the form of that .432 BABIP despite the elevated hard contact.

And then there’s Glasnow. His ERA, peripherals and metrics all agree on one thing: domination. There’s zero to dislike about the guy right now and you’re picking at straws for any criticism/regression moving forward, even if the ERA figure rises some.

The Rays haven’t swung the bat well on the whole and the Angels’ runs scored totals are propped up by the blowout games while scoring very little in the others.

Add it up and I’m comfortable going Under the 8-run total in this one at a nice price.

The Bet
UNDER 8
-115
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.