Oakland A’s (51-48) +150, 9 at Tampa Bay Rays (58-40), 7pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of Predictem.com
One team fighting to hold on to first place in its division meets another team that has apparently thrown in the towel for this season when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Oakland A’s for the middle game of a three-game set Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
Online Sportsbooks are listing Tampa and starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine (10-4, 4.58) as – 160 home favorites for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 9, while Oakland and Dallas Braden (1-0, 4.80) are getting +150 as road underdogs.
The Rays have won three of four games since the All-Star break after taking the opener of this series Monday night 4-0, holding Oakland to two hits. Meanwhile, the A’s have lost six straight, scoring nine totals runs in the process. So going into Tuesday’s play, Tampa leads the AL East by 1 1/2 games over the second-place Boston Red Sox, while Oakland has fallen into third place in the AL West, nine games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Angels.
The A’s also occupy 5th place in the AL wild-card race, six games back of the race-leading Boston Red Sox.
Oakland is 20-24 on the road this year, 18-28 as favorites, and 52-47 vs. the run line.
Tampa is 39-15 at home this season, 40-19 as favorites, and 51-47 vs. the run line.
The Rays have taken three of four games from the A’s so far this season, with the totals going 2-2, as the games have averaged 8.0 total runs per.
Last year, Tampa took the season series from Oakland six games to four, with the totals going 5-4-1, as the games averaging 10.6 total runs per.
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Braden will be making his first start of this season, after compiling a 4.80 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP in 15 innings of relief work. Braden started 14 games as a rookie last year, and one vs. the Rays, allowing five ER and nine base-runners (hits + walks) in 4 1/3 innings of a 5-3 A’s loss.
Over his last three starts, including most recently a rough outing vs. Cleveland 12 days ago, Sonnanstine has given up seven ER and 21 BR in 19 1/3 IP. Tampa is 14-5 in Sonnanstine’s starts this year, the totals 9-9.
Sonnanstine has started once both this year and last vs. the A’s, allowing nine ER and 17 BR in 11 IP. The Rays split those two games, and both went over their totals.
Offensively, Oakland ranks 29th in the majors this season in team BA at .247, 23rd in team OBP at .320, 29th in team slugging at .369, and is averaging 4.2 runs per game.
Tampa ranks 15th in batting at .259, 10th in OBP at .337 , 15th in slugging at .410, and is averaging 4.6 RPG.
Over the last five games, the Oakland bullpen has allowed five ER and 27 BR in 16 IP.
Zman’s Pick: Classic example of two teams going in opposite directions. We love the fact that Braden has been ineffective as a reliever and their starting him as well. A situation that just doesn’t bode well, especially on the road. Lay the wood and take the Rays in what should be one of the easier wins of the week.