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Rays vs. Rangers, 8:05 ET
Yesterday was a wash of a day. In the opening game of the Rays vs. Rangers, I took Shane McClanahan and Dane Dunning to keep the score low. I was a bit shocked that the under was posted at nine runs, and played the game that way. It was a success and now I’m going back to the well and looking for another win in this Rays Rangers matchup.
In the midst of our victory yesterday, the Rays ended up losing the game. Now, Tampa Bay is just a game above the Orioles in the division. After the start to the year, I’m sure many fans were already lining up at the window to cash the division winner tickets. Now there is a real possibility they will be playing playoff baseball as a Wild Card winner. There is still a long way to go, but they need to step it up and get back to those winning ways. Unfortunately for them, they have Taj Bradley pitching for them today. He is walking into the game with a 5-5 record and a 5.43 ERA. He has been slightly better on the road this season, but it isn’t anything all that amazing. He’s given up nine earned runs over 8.1 innings in July, and has given up a total of 25 earned runs over 31.1 innings. He did face the Rangers earlier in the season as well and allowed five runs (four earned) over 3.2 innings.
The Rangers are rolling so far to start the second half of the season. Now with four consecutive wins post-All-Star Break, they are showing no signs of slowing down from their nice first half. The encouraging part for the squad is that they have won games by scoring 12 runs, six runs, and then also games where they scored just two and three runs. You aren’t always going to be able to hit the ball well, so winning close, low-scoring games is huge. Especially as those are the type of games that are likely to happen in the playoffs. Today they are putting Nathan Eovaldi on the hill. This is his first second-half start, and it is a good test for him. Tonight will be his 19th start of the year and he has posted a solid 10 quality starts. Most of the other games that he didn’t have a quality start were due to him pitching fewer than six innings. He did face Tampa Bay as well earlier in the year and allowed four earned runs over 6.1 innings. They should be familiar with him as he pitched for Boston for years.
I think history somewhat repeats itself here as Eovaldi will win the battle against Bradley. I’m going to take the first five innings here though since it is the same price as the full game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rangers taking the full game, but I do trust the Rays bullpen more than the Rangers. I’ll take the first five for the Rangers at -135.
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