Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays

Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on April 14, 2021

It’s the third game of a four-game set between the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday as Tampa Bay gets its first-ever look at Japanese rookie right-hander Kohei Arihara. The Rays are solid favorites on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Rangers at Rays MLB Odds & TV Info

Why Bet on Texas?

This week’s series will be the Rangers’ only games in the Eastern time zone during the season’s first half. The Rangers are 1-2-0 in series to begin the year. This marks the 1st series between the Rangers and Rays since the September 2019 in Arlington, as they did not meet during the regionalized 2020 schedule.

Rangers first baseman/outfielder Ronald Guzman had to leave Monday’s game against the Rays with a right knee injury. Making his first-ever start in left field, Guzman was chasing after a fly ball and hurt himself while avoiding a collision with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Anderson Tejeda. He had to be carted off the field. Guzmán has seen time at first base, designated hitter and in left field for the Rangers. He came in to Monday’s contest at Tropicana Field batting .063 with one home run and one RBI in 16 at-bats this year.

The expected full-time DH, Khris Davis, is two weeks away from game action. Davis was shut down with a strained left quadriceps in late March and was originally expected to return in three or four weeks. He’s already at least a week behind the tail end of that range. Fellow designated hitter option Willie Calhoun (groin) also remains sidelined. Third baseman Brock Holt is also on the injured list.

It’s Japanese right-hander Kohei Arihara (0-1, 5.00) on the mound. Arihara gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk with one strikeout in a loss against the Padres on Friday. Arihara only induced two strikeouts, both coming from the first batter he faced as he struck out Trent Grisham swinging on the slider.

Arihara had a smooth first inning but ran into trouble thereafter, as he allowed two runs in the second and an additional one in the third on a pair of extra-base hits and a sacrifice fly. The 28-year-old has been capped at 73 pitches in each of his first two outings, meaning he typically won’t go deep enough into the game to earn a win. This will be his first look at the Rays.

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

The Rays are 13-2-4 in regular-season series since Aug 4, 2020. Since 2020, the Rays have an AL-most 22 come-from-behind wins. This series the Rays continue stretches of games on 13 consecutive days (April 9-21) and 30 games in 31 days (April 9–May 9). The Rays are 12-0-4 in their last 16 home series since Aug 30, 2019.

The Rays are without first baseman Ji-Man Choi and Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, both on the injured list. Outfielder Manuel Margot got Tuesday off simply for rest. He is 3-for-16 with five strikeouts and two walks over his last five games. Margot is still a near-everyday player, but he will likely always get the occasional day off against righties.

It should be Josh Fleming on the mound here, although he could follow an opener. Fleming is being called up from the taxi squad to fill the rotation spot that opened up when Chris Archer (forearm) was placed on the 10-day injured list over the weekend. Whether he works as a starter or a reliever, Fleming will be in line to cover the majority of the innings for the Rays on Wednesday.

Fleming went 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA (32.1-IP, 10-ER) in 7 apps (5 starts) last season, his first major league action. He was selected from the alternate site on Aug 23 and remained on the active roster for the rest of the season. From Aug 23 through season’s end, his 5 wins tied teammate Tyler Glasnow and Seattle’s Marco Gonzales for 1st in the majors.

From the date of his major league debut through the end of the season, Fleming ranked among major league rookie leaders in wins (1st), innings (32.1, tied for 5th), ERA (2.78, 2nd) and opp avg. (.230, 4th). However, a 1.4 HR/9 and 13.8 K-BB% suggest he wasn’t quite as dominant as that ERA would indicate. Fleming has never faced Texas.

Game Trends

  • Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 during game 3 of a series.
  • Rangers are 8-22 in their last 30 games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Rangers are 14-41 in their last 55 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Rays are 8-3 in their last 11 Wednesday games.
  • Rays are 63-27 in their last 90 games vs. a right-handed starter.

Expert Prediction

  • Rays 5, Rangers 4

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