MLB Picks: Mariners at Rays Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 8/14/2013
Why does Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik still have a job? He was hired away from the Milwaukee Brewers in October 2008, a season after the Mariners were 61-101. Seattle showed some improvement the next year, going 85-77, but it was back to 101 losses in 2010 and the team is on track for a fourth straight losing season. The M's are supposed to have a great farm system, but some of their touted guys -- Jesus Montero, for example -- have been busts. Really the only thing keeping Seattle watchable is whenever Felix Hernandez takes the mound. Without King Felix, the M's might be staring at a fourth straight 100-loss season in 2013.
I also don't understand why Zduriencik didn't trade one of his three veteran hitters, Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez, before the July 31 deadline. Yes, the Mariners played much better in July and sniffed .500, but it that really the goal? All three certainly would have had value to contenders and could have gotten the M's some prospects. All three can leave as free agents after the season. Zduriencik's logic in not making a trade is he might want to re-sign one or two of them: “When you let a guy leave, it’s harder to get him back." None of the three are a building block. I get that it's tough to get free-agent hitters to Seattle because Safeco Field is such a pitchers' park. But still. At least the M's won't finish last in the West again this year thanks to Houston, but the Astros are going to be quite good someday as their farm system is stacked. And you know the Rangers, A's and Angels aren't going anywhere.
Speaking of the Astros, they just helped the Rays this week as Tampa Bay acquired lefty reliever Wesley Wright from Houston off waivers. Wright, 28, has a 3.92 ERA in 41 1/3 innings this year and leads AL relievers with 54 appearances. It's one of those under-the-radar moves that can really pay dividends in a key game late in the season as Wright can be used as a situational lefty against someone like Boston's David Ortiz or Baltimore's Chris Davis. Tampa Bay is also still hoping that righty reliever Jesse Crain, acquired before the deadline from the White Sox, can get off the DL and pitch by the end of this month. Amazingly, the Astros now have just one player making more than $1 million this season, lefty pitcher Erik Bedard (who himself could be a goner in a waiver deal).
Mariners at Rays Betting Story Lines
Seattle starts right-hander Aaron Harang in Wednesday night's Game 2 at what should be a mostly empty Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The Rays don't draw well as it is, so it is likely to be a ghost town on a school night with a bad team in town. Harang (5-10, 5.79) might be about to be booted from the rotation. He hasn't lasted more than five innings the past three starts and has allowed 14 runs -- four homers -- over seven total innings in his past two. This is the first meeting of the season between the teams, so Harang hasn't faced Tampa Bay. He has pitched seven career shutout innings against the Rays.
Luke Scott has seen Harang the most, going 5-for-19 with a homer and four RBI. James Loney is 4-for-18 with an RBI. The Rays remain without one of their key offensive players, outfielder Desmond Jennings. He was put on the 15-day DL last week with a small fracture in his left middle finger. Jennings is hitting .258 with 11 homers, 40 RBI and 17 steals. The Rays smartly let B.J. Upton walk as a free agent because they had his ready-made replacement in Jennings, and he's been way better than Upton and is way cheaper.
Tampa Bay counters with lefty David Price (6-5, 3.17). He was brilliant last time out, holding the rampaging Dodgers to one unearned run over seven innings, but the Tampa Bay bullpen imploded, and the Rays lost the game, 7-6. The Rays had won Price's past four starts. He has allowed one earned run or fewer now in his past four starts. Somehow, Price has not faced Seattle before. How is that possible? Pretty hard to believe since Price made his big-league debut in 2008, and as far as I know the Mariners didn't move to the National League. Thus, only a few Mariners have seen him. Morse has a homer and two RBI in three at-bats. Morales is 1-for-6 against Price.
Mariners at Rays MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Rays are -265, the Mariners +245 and the total at 7. All trends entering Wednesday: Seattle Bay is 60-52-2 “over/under” (28-23-3 on the road) 56-61 on the runline. Tampa Bay is 52-57-7 O/U (27-29-2 at home) and 58-58 on the runline.
The Mariners are 2-9 in their past 11 Wednesday games. They are 1-6 in Harang's past seven road starts. Tampa Bay is 10-1 in its past 11 at home against righty starters. The Rays are 9-4 in their past 13 Game 2s. The over is 4-0 in Seattle's past four Wednesday games. The over is 4-1 in Harang's past five on the road. The under is 7-0 in Tampa Bay's past seven at home against righty starters. The over is 6-2 in Price's past eight Wednesday starts. Seattle is 3-12 in the past 15 in Tampa Bay.
MLB Picks: Mariners at Rays Betting Predictions
Tuesday's series opener really begins the stretch run for Tampa Bay as it plays 46 games in 48 days to close the regular season. The Rays need to make their AL East push now with just six more road games this month. The schedule is definitely not as kind in September. I see no reason why this isn't some sort of 6-0 blowout for the Rays. So take them, also on the runline (-135), and the under.
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