Fresh off a series win over the New York Yankees last weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays now kick off another crucial AL East tilt when they meet the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of a three-game set on Monday, May 8. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET at Camden Yards. Kyle Gibson (4-1, 4.61 ERA) will take the mound for the Orioles, and Shane McClanahan (6-0, 2.03 ERA) will pitch for the Rays.
Tampa is a -180 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Baltimore coming in at +155. The run total is set at 8.5.
Out: RHP Dillon Tate (elbow), RHP Mychal Givens (knee)
Out: SP Tyler Glasnow (oblique), CP Pete Fairbanks (forearm)
Kyle Gibson vs. Shane McClanahan
Gibson had his worst outing by far in his latest start against the Kansas City Royals, posting an 8.10 ERA over 6.2 innings pitched and striking out zero batters. Before that, he was averaging a respectable 3.93 ERA and had put together two six-inning showings in which he allowed just a single run.
McClanahan continues to shine with jaw-dropping consistency. He has not allowed any opposing team to score more than two runs on him all season, and he has pitched fewer than six innings in a start just twice this season. He allowed five hits and one run in his latest start and struck out nine batters.
The Rays have one of the most dangerous offenses in baseball, averaging 6.43 runs per game — they led the league in that mark for much of the season and were just recently passed up by the Texas Rangers. However, the Orioles likely won’t be able to contribute more than a run or two to the total in the first six innings with McClanahan on the mound. I’m leaning toward the under here, but this is a close one for me.
Pick: Under 8.5
Absolutely the Rays. With McClanahan (a Baltimore native, nonetheless) pitching like a Cy Young candidate combined with the Rays’ explosive bats, Tampa Bay should easily take game one of this series.