The Baltimore Orioles are looking to defend their spot atop the AL East when they take on the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of a three-game set on Saturday afternoon. First pitch from Tropicana Field is slated for 4:10 p.m. Top prospect Grayson Rodriguez (2-2, 7.33 ERA) will make the second start of his second stint in the Majors for the O’s, while Tampa counters with ace Shane McClanahan (11-1, 2.56).
The Rays started the season on fire, but have fallen off the rails recently, relinquishing first place in the division for the first time all season. They’ve lost 18 of their last 30 games and have won just seven of their last 20. They won last night, but before that, they were riding a five-game skid.
The O’s are a surprise team this season, steadily chipping away at Tampa’s big division lead and eventually overtaking them in recent weeks. They’ve won seven of their last 10 games and 17 of their last 30.
The Rays enter as -175 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the O’s at +150. The run total is set at 7.5.
Orioles-Rays picks: Saturday, July 22nd
Out: OF Cedric Mullins (groin)
Out: C Francisco Mejia (knee)
Grayson Rodriguez vs. Shane McClanahan
Entering the year as baseball’s top pitching prospect, Rodriguez has had a bit of a season to forget, though it’s been a small sample size of only 31 innings. He’s got a 7.33 ERA on the year and has allowed 11 home runs in that span. He did earn a win against Tampa a few months ago, though.
The Rays will have their ace McClanahan on the hill Saturday. The former USF Bull has struggled a bit recently by his standards, with a 3.55 ERA over his last seven starts. Still, for the season he’s got a 2.56 ERA and 107 Ks in 102 innings tossed.
Tampa has struggled to score runs of late, posting just an average of 3.7 runs per game over their last 10 — and that includes a 10-run game. Baltimore is hitting much better, but they have to deal with McClanahan.
Pick: Under 7.5
With the way these two teams are playing, it would be easy to pick against Tampa. But Baltimore is only winning the season series 4-3 and McClanahan is by far the Rays’ best shot to steal a win here from the division leaders.
Pick: Rays -175