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The Tampa Bay Rays (28-7) will not stop winning. They are 5.5 games atop the AL East with Monday’s opponent — Baltimore Orioles (22-12) in 2nd — and the Rays beat the NY Yankees in the rubber-match of their 3-game set Sunday.
Tampa gives LHP, and AL Cy Young-favorite, Shane McClanahan (6-0, 2.03 ERA) the start Monday while Baltimore counters with RHP Kyle Gibson (4-1, 4.61 ERA).
This is the 1st Rays-Orioles series in 2023 and Tampa beat Baltimore 10-9 in their season series last year. Two of those wins came with McClanahan on the bump. He allowed just 5 ER over 17 IP vs. the Orioles in 2022 with a 24/5 K/BB rate.
The Rays are 3-0 overall and on the run line as road favorites in McClanahan’s starts this year. TB is winning those games 9.7-2.7 on average. Technically, both starters are aces but McClanahan is in another league.
Per Statcast, McClanahan grades in the 86th percentile or better in K%, chase %, whiff %, and expected slugging percentage (xSLG). Gibson ranks in the 35th percentile or worse in exit velocity, hard-hit %, K%, whiff %, and xSLG.
Also, McClanahan has a 27.6% K-rate, a .241 batting average (BA), and a .311 wOBA in 116 plate appearances (PA) vs. active Orioles. Gibson has a 16.7% K-rate, .382 BA, and .394 wOBA in 36 PA against current Rays.
Finally, Tampa’s lineup crushes righties. The Rays rank atop MLB in wRC+ (139), wOBA (.366), ISO (.240), and hard-hit % (36.7%) vs. right-handed pitching, according to FanGraphs.
BET: Rays -0.5 (-125) on the 1st 5-Inning RL at DraftKings Sportsbook
- Betting strategy: I’m going with Tampa Bay’s 1st 5-Inning RL instead of the full game because Baltimore’s bullpen has stronger pitching peripherals and a bulk of my handicap is based on McClanahan.
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
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