Athletics Are MLB Odds Favorites to Close Series vs Rays

Athletics Are MLB Odds Favorites to Close Series vs Rays

Written by on May 31, 2018

The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s have one main thing in common: They play in the two worst stadiums in Major League Baseball and thus have small payrolls because of it. Both are overachieving a bit in 2018, though, by hanging around .500. Tampa plays its final game of the season in Oakland on Thursday afternoon. The Rays are underdogs in the MLB odds against the A’s.

How to Bet Rays at A’s MLB Odds & Game Info – May 31st

When: Thursday, 3:35 PM ET
Where: Oakland Coliseum
Probable pitchers (away/home): Ryne Stanek/Daniel Mengden
TV: MLB Network
Stream: MLB.tv
Radio: 970 AM (Tampa Bay) / 95.7 FM (Oakland)
Opening MLB Odds: A’s -135, Rays +125 (8)

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

The Rays will either be going for the season sweep on Thursday or a 3-1 series win as they won the first two games in Oakland by one run each. The Rays are looking for a third consecutive series win over the A’s for the first time since Aug 23, 2007–Aug 14, 2008 (four straight). The Rays are 7-2 over the last two seasons against the A’s after going 2-5 in 2016. However, their .337 winning percentage at the Oakland Coliseum is the worst of any AL team.

Entering Wednesday, the Rays had played 29 games on the road, tied for 2nd-most in the AL behind the Orioles (30). Tampa is 16-13 on the road but 16-8 (.667) following an 0-5 start to the season.

On Tuesday, Sergio Romo was tagged for two earned runs and two hits he was able to hang on for his first save. Romo needed 22 pitches to get it. Romo has been used frequently in starts while also working in high-leverage situations in the bullpen. Romo has allowed six earned runs and seven hits over his past 2 2/3 innings across four appearances.  Romo and Atlanta’s Luiz Gohara are the only pitchers in the majors this year with at least 1 start and 1 save.

Brad Miller (face) went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts in his return to the Rays’ lineup Tuesday. Miller suffered a nasty black eye while doing pregame work on Monday. Miller has a .722 OPS with five home runs and 18 RBI in 43 games this season for Tampa Bay.

Who Will Take the Mound for the Rays?

It’s Ryne Stanek on the mound here. Stanek has a 3.24 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings this season at the major league level. He will be making the second big-league start his career following Saturday vs. Baltimore where he went just 1.2 innings. On Monday in Oakland, Stanek recorded the first win of his career (29th appearance). He pitched around a 2-out double and intentional walk in the 12th inning and was replaced by Jonny Venters with 1-on, 2-out in the 13th.

Stanek is just going to pitch the first inning and maybe part of the second before being pulled. Manager Kevin Cash is trying a new theory of “openers” in some games. Stanek has averaged 98.3 mph on his fastball this season, according to StatCast, and his max velocity is 100.5 mph in his start vs. Baltimore. Last season he averaged 98.1 mph on his fastball and made 14 pitches of 100 mph or more — the most by a Ray since Fernando Rodney did it 23 times in 2013.

Why Bet on Oakland?

Are the A's a safe bet in the MLB odds on Thursday?

The A’s are a bit short-handed in the bullpen right now. Ryan Buchter (shoulder) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday. Buchter has been out since late April with a right shoulder strain and is probably a couple weeks away from returning to the A’s bullpen. He had a 1.69 ERA through his first 10 2/3 innings this season. Santiago Castilla (shoulder) could return from the disabled list when first eligible on June 5. The veteran has a 3.32 ERA in 21 2/3 innings this season out of the bullpen. The A’s have compiled a 3.08 ERA in the seventh inning or later, which is lowest in the American League and fifth lowest in the majors.

The A’s are 11-for-23 (47.8%) in stolen base attempts, have the lowest stolen percentage in the majors, the fewest stolen bases and are tied for the third fewest attempts. Opponents have stolen 40 bases, which is second most in the American League (Toronto, 41), but they have been caught stealing 14 times, which is fourth most.

As of Wednesday, the A’s are 12-5 (.706) against American League East teams this year, which is the best record against the East by an AL team. The pitching staff has a 2.99 ERA against the East compared to 4.40 against all other teams.

Who Will Start for the Athletics?

It’s Daniel Mengden (5-4, 2.85) here. Mengden tossed a two-hit shutout Saturday against the Diamondbacks en route to his fifth win of the season. He struck out five and issued zero walks. Both hits he gave up were singles, and he retired 21 of the last 22 batters he faced. It was Mengden’s second career complete-game shutout, with his other coming last September against the Phillies. He was efficient and pitched to contact, throwing 76 strikes on 102 pitches.

Mengden has now given up four earned runs over his last 33.2 innings (1.07 ERA), including a current 17-inning scoreless streak. Mengden induced 13 groundballs vs. Arizona, which has been a big part of his success over this stretch.  He was 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA in his first three starts but has since gone 4-2 in his last eight outings and lowered his ERA on the year to 2.85.

Latest MLB Betting Trends

  • Tampa Bay is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games
  • Tampa Bay is 5-0 SU in the last 5 games
  • The total went UNDER in 5 of Tampa Bay’s last 6 games
  • Oakland is 3-6 ATS in the last 9 games
  • Oakland is 2-4 SU in the last 6 games
  • The total went UNDER in 5 of Oakland’s last 5 games

Expert MLB Betting Prediction

Mengden is dealing right now so take Oakland on the runline for the best value in the MLB odds.