Tuesday MLB Rays vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Tampa Bay to Get Past Philadelphia (August 24)
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen.
- The Tampa Bay Rays go up against the Philadelphia Phillies in Tuesday's Major League Baseball action.
- Drew Rasmussen takes the mound for Tampa Bay, which boasts the best American League record.
- Mike Ianniello gives his detailed thoughts below and details why he's backing the visiting Rays.
Rays vs. Phillies Odds
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
Philadelphia was able to take two of three games in San Diego to somewhat stop the bleeding over the last two weeks. With a torrid stretch through July, the Phillies were able to overtake the New York Mets with a sweep in the first weekend on August.
Since that series with New York, Philadelphia is just 4-8 and has quickly fallen 4.5 games behind the scorching hot Atlanta Braves. A return home is just what the Phillies need as their playoff chances begin to slip away.
Never the flashiest team, the Tampa Bay Rays quietly have the best record in the American League. They have a four-game lead in the AL East standings, the only division with four teams above .500. The Rays, who are 14-6, took the final two games of their last series against the Chicago White Sox.
Both teams enter this matchup following a day off and are in the thick of a playoff race. That said, Tampa Bay is currently on the right side and Philadelphia on the wrong one. Each of Tuesday’s starting pitchers began the season in the bullpen and remain unproven, with just four starts each so far.
Tampa Bay swept the first two games of this season series at the Trop in May, but is the value with the Phillies at home? Let’s a take a look.
Rasmussen Taking Mound for Tampa Bay
Drew Rasmussen will make fifth spot start of the season and third in a row. In four starts, Rasmussen, who has averaged 3 1/3 innings per start, has been effective in posting a 2.77 ERA on the mound. He’s allowed just five hits in his 13 innings,, with opponents batting just .119 against him.
Ever since coming over to Tampa Bay from Milwaukee as part of the Willy Adames trade, Rasmussen has made 14 appearances overall and holds a 3.30 ERA. Like most of the Rays bullpen, the 26-year-old throws a fastball that averages 98 miles per hour. He pairs that with a terrific slider.
The Tampa Bay offense has come to life, crushing the ball of late. Over the last 30 days, the Rays rank second in the league in wOBA and lead with a 127 wRC+. No team has scored more runs over the last month and only two teams have more home runs.
Highly-touted prospect Wander Franco has really gotten going, batting .340 over the last two weeks. Brandon Lowe, Randy Arozarena and Kevin Kiemaier are all hitting the ball great right now.
Suarez Having Big Season for Philadelphia
While Zack Wheeler has clearly been the Phillies’ best pitcher and clear favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award, it might actually be Ranger Suarez who has been the team’s most valuable hurler.
Suarez has been used as a Swiss Army knife all season, taking the hill whenever the Phillies needed him most. He started the year as a middle reliever, then was serving as the team’s closer. Now, he’s been added to the starting rotation.
Through his various rolls, Suarez has been phenomenal. He has a 1.47 ERA in 31 total appearances. Teams are batting just .168 against him with a .235 wOBA. He ranks in the top 10% of the league in xERA, xBA, xwOBA and average exit velocity allowed.
Philadelphia had one of the league’s best offenses during July. However, since August began, the Phillies have gone ice cold. Over the last two weeks, the franchise has the second-lowest wOBA and wRC+ in the league. Only their Pennsylvania pals from the western part of the state have been worse.
The Phillies got a big boost with Rhys Hoskins returning to the lineup Sunday. The team’s home-run leader blasted two dingers in his first game back to give him 26 on the season.
Both starting pitchers have made just four starts and switched to the rotation from the bullpen due to injuries.
Suarez has been terrific all season, and Rasmussen has a really good matchup against Philadelphia. Rasmussen’s best pitch is 98 mile-per-hour fastball he throws 66.1% of the time. The Phillies rank just 20th in the league against fastballs, plus they’re dead last over the last two weeks.
In two relief appearances earlier this year when he was a member over the Brewers, Rasmussen tossed three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and fanning five batters.
Neither of these pitchers are likely to pitch longer than four innings, so once they exit the real mismatch begins. Tampa Bay has the best bullpen ERA in the league, with a loaded group of relievers capable of racking up outs. Philadelphia ranks 22nd in reliever ERA and leads the league in blown saves.
Even if Suarez pitches well, a Phillies backer won’t feel safe until the final out is made. Instead, I’ll back Tampa Bay as a small favorite with its red-hot offense and elite bullpen.
Philadelphia has been much better at home and I don’t love fading it at Citizens Bank Park, but Tampa Bay has been terrific at home and the fourth-most profitable team to bet on the road.
I’ll back Tampa Bay at -125 and would play it down to -130 odds.
Pick: Tampa Bay ML (-125) — Play to -130