Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland A’s Preview and Pick – Andy Sonnanstine vs. Justin Duchscherer

Tampa Bay Rays (71-47) +125, 7 1/2 at Oakland A’s (55-63), 10 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The upstart Tampa Bay Rays look to keep their grip on first place in the AL East when they continue a 10-game road trip with game 2 of a three-game series with the Oakland A’s at McAfee Coliseum Wednesday night.

Baseball bookmakers are listing Oakland and starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer (10-7, 2.51, .99 WHIP) as 135 home favorites for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 7 1/2, while Tampa and Andy Sonnanstine (11-6, 4.40, 1.31) are getting +125 as road underdogs.

Oakland took the opener of this series Tuesday night 2-1, just the A’s fourth win in their last 25 games.

On the other side of this match-up, the Rays have won 10 of their last 13 games.

So going into Wednesday’s play, Tampa leads the AL East by three games over the second-place Boston Red Sox. Meanwhile, the A’s are in third place in the AL West, 20 games back of the first-place Los Angeles Angels.

Tampa may be 24 games over .500 on the year, but they’re just 26-30 on the road. The Rays are also 18-22 as underdogs, and 61-57 vs. the run line.

Oakland is 33-29 at home this season, 31-25 as favorites, and 58-60 vs. the run line.

The Rays have taken four of seven games from the A’s so far this season, with the totals going 3-4, as the games have averaged 7.3 total runs per.


Over his last three starts, including a solid performance vs. Seattle last Thursday, Sonnanstine has allowed eight ER and 23 baserunners (hits + walks) in 20 IP. Tampa is 15-8 in Sonnanstine’s starts this year, the totals 11-11.

Sonnanstine has started three games vs. Oakland over the last two seasons, giving up 12 ER and 23 BR in 18 IP. The Rays lost two of those games, and all three went over the totals.

Over his last three starts, including a poor outing vs. Toronto last Thursday, Duchscherer has given up 13 ER and 28 BR in 17 IP. Oakland is 10-10 in Duchscherer’s starts this year, the totals 8-11.

Duchscherer has never started a game vs. Tampa.

Offensively, Tampa ranks 20th in the majors this season in team BA at .258, 10th in team OBP at .336, 15th in team slugging at .415, and is averaging 4.6 runs per game.

Oakland ranks 29th in batting at .243, 26th in OBP at .316, 29th in slugging at .365, and is averaging 4.0 RPG.

Over the last five games, the Tampa bullpen has allowed five ER and 18 BR in 13 1/3 IP.

Over its’ last five games, the Oakland pen has given up 12 ER and 25 BR in 15 1/3 IP.

On the injury front, both Tampa 3B Evan Longoria and OF Carl Crawford were recently placed on the DL with hand/wrist injuries.

The totals are 48-68 in Rays games this year.

Meanwhile, the totals are 42-69 in A’s games this year, and 3-11 over their last 14 games, as Oakland hasn’t scored more than four runs in any game over that span.

And the totals are 25-34 in games played at McAfee Coliseum this year, which are averaging 7.65 total runs, 3rd-fewest among all ML ballparks this season.

Zman’s Pick: This is not the easiest of games to pick, but I’m siding with the A’s. Duchscherer should be able to get it done at home vs. a Tampa team that isn’t that great on the road and is missing one of it’s key components in Carl Crawford.