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Rays vs. Giants, 9:45 ET
Ah, a really nice, slow baseball Sunday where no random rumors started swirling about any major player… Oh… wait. Well, this is awkward. In case you haven’t heard about this, let me fill you in: Wander Franco, the stud, highly-invested-in, shortstop for the Rays allegedly was dating a 14-year-old girl and then paid her hush money. Now that the money has stopped, apparently, the word was released and now there are questions around the entire situation. Franco did not travel with the team to San Francisco, and he wasn’t in the lineup yesterday. None of this stuff is funny, but something that was just too crazy to be true – but it was true – is that yesterday, when all of this came out, it was the same day the Rays ran a promotion of a Wander Franco hat given to the first number of fans as long as they were 14 or under. Can’t make this stuff up.
What are we supposed to make of this mess from a betting standpoint? How will the Rays respond without one of their best players and all of the media circus. There are pictures of Franco and this girl together and if she is actually 14, I think he is done in baseball forever. Not only that, but if he isn’t what kind of player would be willing to play with him? I wouldn’t want to deal with the questions currently or if he comes back. Now, if he is cleared and nothing happened, it should all be dropped. This isn’t something to joke about. But, the Rays as a team have to continue. They are now on the West Coast after dropping the last game they played against the Guardians. The Rays really haven’t been great this second half. They are only 13-14 in the second half and that is after they struggled mightily before the All-Star Break. They are 14-21 since July 21st. Luckily they were very dominant earlier in the year so it hasn’t looked that bad in their overall record. Franco is a big part of their success and he will be gone probably for a while, if not forever. The team had to do a cross-country flight with this news looming – they either will come together or fall completely apart. These flights from Tampa are long anyway, this has to make it considerably worse.
The Giants are once again doing their roller coaster thing. In the early portion of the season they were terrible then great, then terrible, then great. It was just constant streaky baseball. Maybe the team is collectively in tune with each other and that just makes them struggle or succeed at the same time. The second half of the season has seen them have a five-game winning streak and two losing streaks of at least four games. Overall, they are also now 13-14 since the 2nd half started, but they did move up to the second spot within the division and are second in the Wild Card rankings. Tonight they have an opener rather than starter, which is ironic since they face the team that started the opener trend. Ryan Walker is taking the ball and the most amount of innings he has tossed this season is three. His arm should be fairly fresh as he hasn’t pitched since August 11th and he hasn’t thrown more than 17 pitches in any of his past four outings.
This is going to be a strange game. I usually like fading the team traveling from the East to the West. The Rays body clocks are going to feel like this game is starting when one of their normal games would end. The travel is long and it is tough to get off the plane and hit. Tyler Glasnow, their starter, is very talented and probably can keep the struggling Giants to a few runs. I’m going to take the under 7.5 in this game. I think the Giants probably win it as well, but I don’t know that I want to invest much into their bullpen game. I think it is safer to take the under.
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