The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics continue their weekend series in Oakland on Friday night. The Athletics won the opener in dramatic fashion on Matt Chapman’s three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
The Rays are currently second in the American League East, trailing the New York Yankees by 4.5 games. Tampa Bay had a very nice start to their season and are exceeding expectations so far. The last time the Rays faced off against the Athletics, Tampa Bay dropped the series 2-1 at home.
Tampa Bay is currently missing their starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow. This leaves a difficult opening to fill in the starting rotation. Glasnow is 6-1 this season with a 1.86 ERA and 55 strikeouts. He is currently throwing bullpen sessions, but they do not expect him back before the All-Star break. Luckily the good start to their season gives them some cushion to let him get back to 100 percent without rushing his return.
Brandon Lowe is currently leading the Rays in both home runs and RBI. Combine that with centerfielder Austin Meadows’ .308 batting average, and the Rays pose a threat to any starting pitcher in the league. The Rays will look to get that offense going again against Oakland. In their last series against the Yankees, they were only able to produce four runs over three games, getting outscored 21-4 in the series.
The Athletics have bounced right around the .500 mark for a while now as we near the All-Star break. While Tampa Bay’s last series was against the first-place Yankees, Oakland just finished their series with the very weak Baltimore Orioles. The Athletics took care of business, outscoring Baltimore 27-7. While the Rays will be a tougher opponent, the Athletics will look to keep the bats hot for this series as well. Oakland is currently third in the American League West but just a half-game behind second-place Texas and one game out of the second Wild Card spot.
Tanner Anderson will be getting the start on the mound for the Athletics. Anderson was acquired this past offseason from the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he made his first MLB start last season. The 25-year-old pitcher is 0-1 this year with a 3.27 ERA in his 11 innings pitched.
Oakland currently has five different pitchers on their injury list. This will cause them to keep mixing up their starters in creative ways as they get closer to the middle of the season.
The A’s have been getting runs from everywhere in the lineup. Khris Davis current leads the team in home runs with 16 and also is tied for the team lead with 41 RBI on the season. Veteran shortstop Marcus Semien leads the team in batting average, currently at .283.
What to expect
The Athletics have had an easier schedule of late, but that has given them the chance to get on a bit of a hot streak. Look for them to try to keep this going in this AL matchup that has big implications for both teams as we reach mid-season. I would take the Athletics to win in a tight game where both teams are able to break out a little more than last night and get runs on the board. My take – Oakland moneyline and the over.