That the Tampa Bay Rays are going to be a playoff team this season is no shock, but that Miami might be too is stunning. Florida’s two full-time baseball teams meet at Tropicana Field on Friday night to open a three-game set. The Rays will be favored in each as they have dominated the Marlins of late.
How to Bet Marlins at Rays MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday, 6:40 PM ET
- Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Pablo Lopez/Josh Fleming
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: TBA
The Marlins made a surprising move on Monday in acquiring former All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder Starling Marte from Arizona in exchange for LHP Caleb Smith, RHP Humberto Mejía and a player to be named later. Marte is a career .288 hitter and has stolen more than 30 bases five times in eight seasons leading up to 2020.
He is the only player in Major League Baseball with more than 20 stolen bases in each of the last 7 seasons (2013-19), and is one of two Major Leaguers (also Jose Altuve) to have more than 100 home runs (103) and 200 stolen bases (227) in that same span. Defensively, Marte’s 72 assists since 2013 lead all Major League outfielders. Marte hit a go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth to lead the Marlins to a 3-2 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday in his first game with the new team.
Jose Urena is expected to step into Elieser Hernandez’s spot in the Marlins’ rotation. Hernandez was placed on the injured list Wednesday after being diagnosed with a right lat strain and could be done for the remainder of the condensed 2020 season. Urena has been on the COVID-19 IL since late July, but he’s getting stretched out at the team’s alternate training site and could be activated this weekend.
Reliever Edward Cabrera has resumed throwing off a mound. Cabrera was cleared to begin throwing on flat ground in early August after battling some right arm discomfort and has now taken the next step in his rehab.
It’s Pablo Lopez on the mound Friday. Lopez (3-2) logged a quality start in Saturday’s loss to the Rays, allowing just two runs on six hits over seven strong innings. The right-hander struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. Unfortunately for him, the Marlins weren’t able to provide any runs of support.
Lopez blanked the Rays through the first five innings, then allowed a run-scoring infield single to Yandy Diaz in the sixth inning and a Kevin Kiermaier RBI double in the seventh. Lopez will carry a sparkling 2.10 ERA and 1.17 WHIP into a rematch against the Rays.
Lopez has tossed at least 5.0 innings and allowed no more than two earned runs in all six of his starts this season. He is one of just 10 pitchers in the Majors to record as many such starts this season. That matches the longest such streak in Marlins history to start a season — also Josh Johnson (6g), April 1-30, 2011 and Anibal Sanchez (6g), April 9-May 8, 2012.Why Bet on Tampa Bay?
The Rays have the easiest remaining schedule in the AL, with a weighted opponents’ winning percentage .433 That’s is the 2nd-easiest remaining schedule in the majors, behind the Braves (.416). Only six of their remaining 21 games are against teams currently over .500: three against the Marlins and three against the Phillies.
The Rays swept three games in Miami last weekend. Since July 22, 2018, the Rays have won eight consecutive games over the Marlins, tied with May 22, 2011–June 15, 2012 for the longest winning streak against them in franchise history.
The Rays are 4-2 in interleague play this season and 18-8 since the start of last season, second in the majors over that stretch behind the Mets (19-7). Over the last two seasons, the Rays have a major-league-best 2.53 ERA in interleague games, ahead of the Marlins (3.51), while their 10.58 SO/9 IP ratio ranks 3rd in the majors. Tampa is 154-101 in interleague play since 2008, third best in the majors over that stretch.
Tampa put third baseman Yandy Diaz on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain after he left Monday’s game with the problem. The Rays have called up Nate Lowe to take his spot on the active roster. The 25-year-old showed some potential last year with a .779 OPS and seven home runs over his first 50 MLB games.
Reliever Nick Anderson (forearm) made make a 20-pitch simulated appearance on Wednesday. If that workout goes smoothly, Anderson could be activated from the injured list ahead of Friday night’s opener against the Marlins.
It will be Josh Fleming on the mound Friday. Fleming was victorious in his second big league start on Saturday, racking up six strikeouts over 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Marlins. The left-hander scattered just three hits and didn’t walk a batter. As a result, he was able to work efficiently, needing only 74 pitches to retire 16 batters.
The 24-year-old has given the Rays a big boost so far, winning each of his first two starts while posting a 1.74 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 9/2 K/BB ratio across 10 1/3 innings.Expert PredictionRays 4, Marlins 3
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