Potential season bragging rights in the Sunshine State are on the line Thursday as the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays wrap up their home-and- home four-game Citrus interleague series. The Rays went to Miami this past Monday and Tuesday, winning both games. Now, the Marlins head to Tampa Ray on Wednesday to continue the serires. The Rays will be slight MLB betting favorites. Miami will get to add the designated hitter.
Miami at Tampa Bay MLB Prediction & Betting Analysis
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) May 3, 2017
When: Thursday, May 4, 7:10 PM ET
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Probable pitchers (away/home): Dan Straily/Matt Andriese
TV: MLB Network
Radio: Miami / Tampa Bay
Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Why Bet On Miami?
Miami won the 2016 Citrus Series, taking three of four games from the Tampa Bay Rays, going 1-1 at Marlins Park and 2-0 at the Trop. Miami owns a 29-25 advantage in South Florida, 4-9 at Marlins Park, yet trail the all-time series, 51-53.
Marcell Ozuna cranked his seventh home run of the season Monday in the Marlins’ loss to the Rays. It was a solo shot in the fourth inning off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. Ozuna also had a big game in Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates and is batting .293/.353/.554 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 24 games this year as of Tuesday. Ozuna has recorded at-least one hit in each of his 18 career games played against Tampa Bay, marking the second-longest active hitting streak vs. any opponent in the Majors. Only Boston’s Dustin Pedroia has a longer run, hitting in 20 straight against Oakland.
Giancarlo Stanton struggled slightly through the month of April for the Marlins. He slashed just.264/.350/.529. Which Stanton will we see in May? In 2014, his best season to date, Stanton blasted a staggering .367/.479/.684 line with eight long balls in the month of May. In comparison, last season during May Stanton only managed to bat .173/.287/.373 with four homers and 31 strikeouts.
Miami pitchers own a .202 average against the third time through an opponents’ lineup, which ranks as the third-lowest among Major League staffs and tops in the National League. It’s Dan Straily (1-2, 4.15) for the Marlins here. He allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings in Saturday’s loss to the Pirates. Straily cruised through five innings, allowing a lone run, but he ran into trouble in the sixth. After a one-out single, the right-hander walked three straight hitters to walk in a run, and another run was walked in after Straily exited. He allowed four hits and struck out five in the loss.
Straily had a string of 12 consecutive innings without a walk going before he issued three straight free passes in his loss to the Pirates. Straily still has thrown well, striking out 29 in 26 innings this season.
Why Bet On Tampa Bay?
The Rays offense got a boost Tuesday with the activation of outfielder/DH Colby Rasmus off the DL. Rasmus was one of the Rays’ top off-season acquisitions based on his combination of defense and power, but he was coming off hip and core muscle surgeries which kept him sidelined and on a rehab assignment through the first month of the season.
Over his eight-year major league career, Rasmus has slashed .241/.311/.434 with 156 HR over 1,037 games. He has played for the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Houston Astros and has put up 18.5 WAR with them. While with the Blue Jays, Rasmus worked closely with current Rays hitting coach Chad Mottola which helped sway Rasmus to joining the Rays during the offseason. The Rays needed to clear a spot for Rasmus and waived 1B/OF Shane Peterson. Peterson hit .263 with one homer and six RBI across 14 games for the Rays.
However, arguably the Rays’ best player, third baseman Evan Longoria, is ailing. Longoria has complained of foot trouble recently and sat out a second straight game Tuesday. A 3-for- 29 slump has dropped Longoria’s average from .250 to .208.
It’s Matt Andriese (1-1, 3.86) for Tampa. Andriese surrendered four runs — three earned — in seven innings of work and was charged with a loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday. He gave up an unearned run in the first inning and an earned run in the fourth. Justin Smoak took him deep with a runner aboard in the sixth. Andriese allowed five hits, issued three walks and punched out four batters in the quality start.
Andriese snapped a string of 18 starts in which he threw six innings or fewer when he pitched seven and allowed three earned runs. He did surrender a home run, extending his streak to six straight games of allowing one.
Miami at Tampa Bay MLB Betting Pick: Miami Marlins
Possibly no Longoria for the Rays, who don’t have much experience as a team vs. Straily.