Not long ago, it looked as if the Tampa Bay Rays would run away with the AL East title, but they have come back to the pack and allowed the Blue Jays and Yankees to stay in the race. Tampa closes an interleague series with a Wednesday matinee vs. Washington.
How to Bet Nationals at Rays MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Wednesday, 1:10 PM ET
- Where: Tropicana Field
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Austin Voth/Josh Fleming
- TV: MLB Extra Innings, MLB Network (out of market)
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: TBA
The defending World Series champions are playing out the string as they are last in the NL East. The team is again without closer Sean Doolittle, who went back on the 10-day injured list recently with a right oblique strain. Manager Dave Martinez said Doolittle has a “pretty good” strain and is “going to miss some time.” It’s almost surely a season-ending injury for Doolittle, who has had a rough 2020 between injuries and poor performance.
First baseman/DH Howie Kendrick is also on the injured list. The 37-year-old has posted a relatively underwhelming .275/.320/.385 batting line in 100 plate appearances this season for the Nats, after slashing .344/.395/.572 across 370 plate appearances in 2019. He might be done this year too.
If watching a Nats game, expect it to take a while. Just 17.1 percent of their games this year have been played in less than three hours. Three of those seven were seven innings as part of doubleheaders. The shortest nine-inning Nationals game this season took 2:41.
“One, DH,” Martinez said of why the long games. “Two, you notice pitchers are throwing a lot of pitches. A lot of pitches. I think it’s a combination of both. Our bullpen guys, when they come in the game, they’re over 20 pitches a lot of times when they come out. Starting pitchers have been throwing a lot of pitches. …. I can’t really put a finger on it. When you look at all the numbers at the end of the game, you’re looking at over 300 pitches for both teams [combined].”
All three aspects of Washington’s roster have been disconcerting. While they’re seventh in MLB in batting average, they’re 18th in runs. They’re getting runners on base but doing close to nothing with them. The bullpen has once again been shaky. Outside of Tanner Rainey, there’s no consistent hurler coming out of the bullpen. Meanwhile, their starting rotation has been a mess.
It’s young Austin Voth scheduled here. Voth (0-5) allowed three runs on two hits and two walks across 4.1 innings pitched in last Thursday’s loss to the Braves. He struck out four and did not factor in the decision. The right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced, while the Nats spotted him a 5-0 lead. Unfortunately, Voth seemed to lose his command in the fourth, as he walked two and allowed a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman. He struck out Nick Markakis to begin the fifth but was pulled a batter later after hitting Tyler Flowers.
Voth will be looking for his first win of the season when he faces the Rays for the first time in his career.Why Bet on Tampa Bay?
From Sept. 7-8 in Washington, the Rays were swept by the Nationals for the second time in club history, following June 5-6, 2018 (0-2). The Rays are 15-16 all-time against the franchise (10-9 against the Nationals, 5-7 against the Expos) and 9-4 all-time at home.
The Rays have clinched a winning record for the third straight season and the ninth time in 13 seasons in the Rays era (since 2008). In the club’s first 10 years of existence, the Devil Rays had the majors’ worst record at 645-972 (.399), never finished above .500 and finished last in the AL East in nine of 10 seasons.
Over the weekend, the Rays put a third regular on the injured list in 1B Ji-Man Choi with a left hamstring strain. It’s a Grade 1 strain, which is the least severe. However, it’s still a 2-3 week injury, so Choi’s regular season is undoubtedly over. Nate Lowe and Mike Brosseau will handle the bulk of the first base duties while Choi is on the shelf. He was hitting .230 with three homers and 16 RBIs.
“Ji-Man brings a lot of energy,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s a good teammate, a great teammate. We all felt like he was starting to have some better at-bats and get going. So he’ll be missed for sure.”
Choi has joined third baseman Yandy Diaz and catcher Mike Zunino on the injured list. The Rays are also without a number of pitchers, including Yonny Chirinos, Jose Alvarado, Jalen Beeks, Oliver Drake, and Chaz Roe.
It’s scheduled to be rookie lefty Josh Fleming (3-0) on the mound. Fleming yielded three runs in 4 1/3 innings Thursday in a no-decision against the Red Sox. Fleming won each of his three starts despite pitching a total of 15 1/3 innings in those games. He has a 4.12 ERA with five homers surrendered in 19 2/3 innings to date. Fleming has been pretty good since being added to the rotation, but can he pitch himself into the bullpen for the playoffs?Expert PredictionRays 6, Nationals 4
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