Athletics vs. Rays MLB Odds & Picks: Is the Total Too Low, Even With Tyler Glasnow Starting? (Wednesday, April 28)

Athletics vs. Rays MLB Odds & Picks: Is the Total Too Low, Even With Tyler Glasnow Starting? (Wednesday, April 28) article feature image
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Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Glasnow.

  • Tyler Glasnow looks to continue his Cy Young-caliber start to 2021 on Wednesday against the A's.
  • Cole Irvin will start for Oakland, having been solid through his first four outings as a starter in MLB.
  • Even with the strong pitching matchup, BJ Cunningham explains why he thinks the game total is too low.

Athletics vs. Rays Odds

Athletics Odds +145
Rays Odds -167
Over/Under 7.5
Time Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Tuesday and via DraftKings

The A’s look to build upon their lead atop the American League West on Wednesday when they face one of the best pitchers in baseball in Tyler Glasnow.

Oakland went on a crazy run during the month of April, winning 13 straight games en route to the top of the division. The A’s will send lefty Cole Irvin to the mound in hopes that he can keep the momentum going in the right direction coming off a strong start his last time out.

After losing in the World Series last season, Tampa Bay is not off to the best of starts in 2021. However, its ace, Glasnow, has been sensational, posting Cy Young Award-type numbers through his first four starts.

The Rays need him to be on his A-game in order to shut down a red-hot Oakland lineup.

Offensive Matchup

Oakland A’s

Even though the A’s went on a crazy win streak, their offense hasn’t been that elite, putting up a .307 wOBA and 104 wRC+. They’ve actually really struggled versus right-handed pitching, hitting for a measly .209 average and .301 wOBA. That’s a big drop from last season when they hit .227 with a .318 wOBA against righties. That’s going to be a major problem against a dominant right-hander like Glasnow.

If you’re going to get to Glasnow, you’re going to have to hit his fastball. He throws the heater over 55% of the time with a ton of velocity. Oakland is 24th so far against fastballs this season, so they’ll need to drastically improve if they are going to get to Glasnow.

Tampa Bay Rays

Despite making the World Series last season, the Rays actually didn’t have an elite lineup. Tampa Bay finished 12th in wOBA and had the second-highest strikeout percentage in MLB. They also flat out stunk against fastballs, finishing 26th in baseball with -9.9 weighted fastball runs, per FanGraphs.

Those struggles have continued into 2021, when the Rays only have a .301 wOBA. However, Tampa Bay hit left-handed pitching really well last season, to the tune of a .343 wOBA and 121 wRC+, so it should be able to get to Irvin.

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Starting Pitching Matchup

Cole Irvin vs. Tyler Glasnow

2021 ZIPS Projected Stats (via Fangraphs)

Athletics Starting Pitcher

Cole Irvin, LHP

2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Before this season, Cole Irvin had pitched only 44 innings in the big leagues, mainly out of the Phillies’ bullpen. Oakland gave him a shot to be in the starting rotation and so far, it’s paying off.

Through his first four starts in 2021, Irvin has posted a 3.86 ERA and 4.14 xFIP, mainly due to the fact that he’s been fantastic with his control. Irvin has only issued only three walks and given up two homers through 21 innings.

Irvin is a soft-tossing southpaw who mainly uses a sinker/fastball combination that sits around 91 mph. Both pitches are pretty average by MLB standards, so he’ll need to continue his fantastic control if he’s going to thrive on Wednesday night. He also has a changeup and slider as his secondary pitches, and both have been pretty untouchable so far. Opponents are only hitting .200 against both.

Rays Starting Pitcher

Tyler Glasnow, RHP

2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Glasnow posted the third-best xFIP (2.46) among all qualified pitchers during the 2020 regular season. His effectiveness was dependent on his fastball, which averaged nearly 97 mph and can top out at more than 100 mph, with a ton of control. While all that is great, he struggled against teams that hit the heater well, like Dodgers, because he threw it over 60% of the time.

So what did Glasnow do in the offseason? He added a slider to his arsenal and is throwing it often in 2021. He’s been really effective with it, with opponents only hitting .200 against it.

Tyler Glasnow, Disgusting Back Foot 88mph Slider. 🤮

RIP the league. 🪦⚰️

See his grip: https://t.co/Y6Qck1AtDJ pic.twitter.com/hs2ySrJ6bk

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 17, 2021

The slider has also improved both of his other pitches in his fastball and curveball. With the new pitch and stellar start to the season, Glasnow has a fantastic matchup against an average A’s lineup.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

Oakland lost Liam Hendriks in the offseason, but its bullpen hasn’t lost a step. The A’s relief corps has put up a 4.09 ERA and 4.27 xFIP, which is about what it finished 2020 at, as an above-average bullpen. Their relievers are a tad taxed, though, with all of their top bullpen arms throwing more than 20 pitches over the past two days.

The Rays’ bullpen has been incredibly solid so far this season, posting a 3.65 ERA and 4.16 xFIP.  The ‘pen’s fantastic control has been the reason for the strong start, as Tampa Bay has the second-lowest BB/9 and HR/9 rates. Those are backed up by one of the best fielding teams in baseball, so it’s going to be really difficult for Oakland to get to the Rays’ staff.

Athletics-Rays Pick

Even though Glasnow is on the mound, I think the over/under in this game is a tad too low. Both offenses have decent matchups against the opposing starter and bullpens, so I think we’ll see more runs than expected.

Since I have 7.76 runs projected for this game, I think there is some value on Over 7.5 runs at +102 and would play it to +100.

Pick: Over 7.5 run +102 (play to +100)

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