Tonight will be Game 3 in this four-game series and it should be a good one. For those betting baseball, we get the treat of being able to watch the ace of the respective teams.
Tampa Bay evened the series last night with a 10-8 win and will try and grab the lead this evening.
Last season Aaron Sanchez was 15-2 with 3.00 ERA in his first full season as a starting pitcher. The 24-year old had a finger issue during the spring, which played a part in his setback and 8.44 ERA. Sanchez has a sinker that not only dropped out of the batter’s line of sight continually, but also was like trying to hit a bowling bowl with a baseball bat, which is why opposing batters only hit .224 against him. As anyone who studies the MLB odds is aware, baseball is all about adjustments and what will Rays hitters change against him. Sanchez is 1-1 with a sharp 1.86 ERA versus Tampa Bay in three starts.
Chris Archer (1-0, 2.57 ERA) looked like the hurler we saw prior to 2016 in his initial start, beating the Yankees and allowing only two runs over seven innings. Archer’s slider is filthy and one of the best on baseball. Because of how hard he throws it and along with the break, that pitch can be impossible to hit. Though Archer’s fastball is at least in the mid-90’s, command can be a problem, which really hurt him last year and he lost confidence. He looks back on track and is 6-4 (3.23 ERA) against Toronto.
What To Watch For Offensively
Both teams had their best output of the season last night. The Rays production has been more balanced up and down the lineup card, with Steven Souza Jr. and Evan Longoria leading the way. Tampa Bay will have to lay off pitches out of strike zone to be effective.
Toronto has to get the heart of the lineup going, as Jose Bautista (.133 BA), Kendrys Morales (.188) and Troy Tulowitzki (.118) are not doing their part to help their teammates.
The odds were steady early, but overnight Tampa Bay jumped to -125. The total opened at 7 and has since grown to 7.5. Tampa Bay has captured 12 of last 21 at Tropicana Field in the last three years and the total is even at 9-9-3. Both bullpens saw extended action last night and got roughed up, sending their ERA’s soaring.
The Winner Is……
No simple call for MLB picks, but I will support Tampa Bay because of Archer and some uncertainty if Sanchez is 100 percent ready to go. With Toronto a mediocre 22-32 after three or more away games, I’ll take the Rays.
Free MLB Play – Tampa Bay Wins