Giants at Rays Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 8/3/2013
The Tampa Bay Rays are no doubt terribly sad to see July in the rearview mirror. The San Francisco Giants say good riddance. It's a rare interleague matchup between these teams and just the second time the Giants will be visiting Tropicana Field (first way back in 2004). Considering every other “domed" stadium has a retractable roof these days -- another reason why the Trop is the worst stadium in the majors -- it actually could affect a few pop flies as the Giants won't be used to it.
The Rays briefly took over the AL East lead this week after a 21-5 month of July that was their best month ever and third-best July winning percentage in MLB since 1921. The Rays' ERA that month was 2.36, the best in the AL since 1933. San Francisco started the month 39-43 but still only three games out of first in the NL West and actually a half-game ahead of the hated Dodgers. Entering Friday's series opener, San Francisco is now 48-59 and nine games out of first. Even crazier, the Dodgers now lead the West comfortably.
Giants at Rays Betting Story Lines
Not all is good for the Rays as lefty Matt Moore (14-3) was put on the disabled list earlier this week with elbow soreness. That's never a good thing, but an MRI showed no structural damage. The team thinks he can be back in two weeks. They won't win the AL East without Moore because pitching has carried the Rays. So has rookie outfielder Wil Myers. He has been everything the Rays had hoped for when they landed him in the James Shields trade. Myers is hitting an obscene .447 with four homers and 12 RBI since the break (all stats entering Friday). He's overtaken Red Sox/Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias as the ROY favorite. Shields is a fine pitcher, but Kansas City is going to highly regret that deal.
Myers and Co. will take their hacks Saturday against former two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, who is likely in his final few months in a Giants uniform. He will regret not signing a $125 long-term deal the Giants offered before the 2012 season as Lincecum will be a free agent after this year and will be taking a substantial pay cut. Lincecum (5-11, 4.61) had a no-hitter in July but he's been totally up-and-down. Following the no-no, he allowed eight runs (three homers) and nine hits in 3.2 innings against Cincinnati. He was good again last time out, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out 10 Cubs in seven innings. Lincecum is 2-6 with a 4.40 ERA away from AT&T Park.
A few Rays with NL experience have seen Lincecum but haven't been great. Kelly Johnson is 7-for-35 with 11 strikeouts. James Loney is hitting .182 with eight strikeouts in 44 at-bats. Yunel Escobar is the only Ray with a homer off Lincecum but has just three hits in 16 at-bats.
Tampa Bay counters with lefty David Price (6-5, 3.57). He has been terrific since returning from the disabled list in early July. It's not a coincidence that's when Tampa Bay's run began. Price has allowed more than one earned run once twice in six starts since returning and has an ERA of 1.88. The Rays have won five of the six. Price had an unusual occurrence on Monday as he beat the Red Sox for the second straight start at Fenway Park. The happened because one game had been postponed from a series in which Price dominated the previous week. He became the first pitcher to win consecutive starts both on the road and at the same venue since the Angels' Frank Tanana at the old Kingdome in Seattle.
A few Giants have seen Price. Marco Scutaro is hitting just .125 off him in 24 at-bats. Hunter Pence is 2-for-5 with a homer against Price. Pence was rumored to be dealt at the trade deadline, but San Francisco apparently didn't find anything to its liking even though Pence will be a free agent after the season. Entering Friday, he hadn't homered since July 13 and had one all month. He is hitting .408 since the break, however. Buster Posey is hitting only .200 since the break.
Giants at Rays MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Rays opened at -190 and the Giants at +180 with a total of 7.5. All trends entering Friday: San Francisco is 54-49-4 “over/under” (29-24 on road) and 40-67 on the runline. Tampa Bay is 49-52-7 O/U (27-26-2 at home) and 58-50 on the runline.
San Francisco is 2-8 in its past 10 against lefty starters. It is 4-1 in Lincecum's past five Saturday starts. The Giants are 7-19 in his past 26 against teams with a winning record. The Giants are 1-5 in Lincecum's past six on the road and 1-8 in his past nine overall. The Rays are 8-0 in their past eight interleague games against righty starters. They are 8-1 in their past nine at home overall against right-handers. Tampa Bay is 2-5 in Price's past seven at home. The over is 8-3 in Lincecum's past 11 road starts against a team with a winning record. The over is 5-2-1 in Price's past eight at home.
Giants at Rays Picks and Betting Predictions
I see no way the offensively-challenged Giants (No. 24 in runs) can score more than two runs off Price. Could the good Lincecum show up and maybe hold the Rays in check? Possible, but doubtful. His last three starts against good teams (two vs. Reds and one vs. Dodgers) have not gone well. Take the Rays, as well as on the runline, and the under.
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