Rays vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Pick: Bet the A’s On Saturday Afternoon (May 9)

Rays vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Pick: Bet the A’s On Saturday Afternoon (May 9) article feature image
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Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Cole Irvin.

  • After winning the first two games of the series, the Oakland Athletics will try to sweep the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
  • The Athletics send Cole Irvin to the mound, who is having a stellar season.
  • Kenny Ducey explains why he's backing Oakland to triumph in this latest showdown.

Rays vs. Athletics Odds

Rays Odds +100
Athletics Odds -120
Over/Under 7.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 4:07 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Sunday afternoon via BetMGM.

After taking the first two games of the series, the Oakland Athletics will go for a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday in a lefty-versus-lefty matchup in Oakland.

The surprising Cole Irvin will get the ball for the A’s against exciting youngster Shane McClanhan, who comes in off two dominant four-inning starts where he struck out 10 batters.

With a tougher test in this spot, is McClanahan worth a fade? Let’s look into the matchup a bit further.

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Tampa Bay Rays

After a few offensive explosions in Anaheim, the Rays’ offense has looked pedestrian here in the spacious Oakland Coliseum. It’s stumbled to just four runs in two games, and next up is another matchup with a lefty that’s sure to make life even tougher on this lineup.

The Rays are 20th in the league when it comes to hitting left-handers, posting a 90 wRC+ to go along with an unsightly 32.7% strikeout rate, which ranks second-worst. Sean Manaea handled this lineup with ease two nights ago, and though Irvin is no Manaea, it’s pretty easy to see this lineup experiencing a drought for a third consecutive night.

That’s all right, though, because McClanahan is on the bump for the Rays. All he’s done in eight innings in his first full season at the big-league level is rack up 10 strikeouts, posting a sparkling 2.25 ERA. Regression could be ready to set in for the youngster, however.

The flamethrower has given up hard-hit balls at a troubling 57.9% rate so far, which is obviously going to come back down a bit to a reasonable number, but still tells a slightly different story than his 2.25 ERA.

He gave up seven rockets off the bat in his debut start which came against this same A’s team, and was a little fortunate to get out with just two runs on his ledger. By the time he got to this order a second time around, they were squaring him up. It’s certainly something to watch.

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Oakland Athletics

The A’s are right back to their winning ways after losing two of three to Baltimore and splitting a very weird four-game set with the Blue Jays. Offense hasn’t been an issue for Oakland lately, but pitching certainly has, with a few cracks showing in their famous-steady bullpen. Its relievers have posted a 5.57 ERA over the past week to bring their season-long number back to around to league average.

With pitching a cause of concern, it’s comforting to Oakland fans everywhere to see two fantastic starts from Manaea and Frankie Montas to begin the year, and Irvin should be the next to in line to cash in on a slumping Rays’ lineup.

Not only does he have that splits advantage, he’s flat-out been an average to above-average pitcher this year with a glistening 3.5% walk rate and a great .291 wOBA against him. Quality of contact has been an issue, but with this matchup those numbers should come back towardleague average.

Though you’re probably not wondering where the runs will come from for the A’s, it’s worth noting they’re seventh in baseball with a 117 wRC+, possessing dangerous bats up and down the order who can absolutely rake from both sides of the plate, but particularly against southpaws.

Rays-Athletics Pick

Irvin has had some issues this year, but this is a pretty perfect matchup for him. He’s been hurt by hard-hit balls most this year, but with a strikeout rate of 23.6%, which is roughly two percent above league average, he shouldn’t have to worry too much about that.

The Rays are striking out at the second-highest clip against lefties and can’t be trusted to get the bat on the ball all that much, anyway. Pairing that bit of info with the fact that Irvin limits walks incredibly well, it could be a quiet day at the plate for the Rays.

As for McClanahan, I love him and believe in him long-term, but it’s undeniable that he’s teetering on the edge of his first tough outing, and judging by the last time he faced the A’s I think they should be able to pick him up a bit better now that they’ve seen that overpowering fastball. There’s also the fact that the A’s mash lefties and get to try to get to McClanahan at home this time.

With that, I’m rolling with Oakland. I think this line is about 13 cents too short.

Pick: Athletics ML (-120)

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