Rays vs Tigers Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, August 4
Via Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images. Pictured: Reese Olson #45 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Minnesota Twins on June 24, 2023 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.
Rays vs. Tigers Odds
The decline of the Tampa Bay Rays has been well documented by now. It's shocking that a team that had a historic start would not only lose their divisional lead but have their outlook continue to worsen as injuries have piled up. Regardless, they are still well within the playoff picture and have much to play for as the season narrows down.
The Detroit Tigers stand in their way tonight, and despite being 12 games under .500, there's a lot to like about this young Tigers club. Many of their young pieces have shown flashes, and we should see some more tonight as Detroit is a very live home dog.
Find a betting pick, preview and prediction for Rays vs. Tigers on Friday, Aug. 4, below.
While injuries to their rotation have proven to be big blows, the rapid hitting decline has been the main issue for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays were the top team in baseball in wRC+ in the first half but are just 15th in the second half and are 20th over the last month.
Regression was clearly coming after their scorching hot start, but the Rays' batted-ball metrics have plummeted from elite to middle of the road. Surprisingly, they are due for even more regression at the dish as their team's xBA is 10 points lower than their current team batting average.
Tigers starting pitcher Reese Olson is one player who can contribute to the Rays' regression tonight. The rookie right-hander has had his share of ebbs and flows through his first 11 starts, but he has the arsenal to capitalize on one vital flaw for Tampa.
Tampa Bay is 24th in Chase Rate, and Olson is a pitcher who relies heavily on his slider as he consistently darts it out of the zone. He's been very effective in doing so, as hitters are batting just .172 off his slider, and his Chase Rate is in the 82nd percentile.
I mentioned in the open how some of the Tigers' young pieces have begun to flourish, and the proof is in the numbers. Would you believe that Detroit has six hitters with above-average Hard-Hit Rates and Exit Velocities?
That list does not include the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Javier Baez and Zach McKinstry, who each have proven they can be threats as well. This lineup will be in an excellent spot to flourish as the Rays have decided to make this a bullpen game.
For years, the Rays' bullpen and how they've elected to use the arms out of it have been an edge, but they've had very different results this season. Sitting at 13th in bullpen ERA isn't terrible, but their pen is due for sizable regression as a whole.
It will be up to Zack Littell to set the tone, and his outlook is not bright. He'll open this game sporting a 4.85 ERA with a Hard-Hit Rate of 51.5% and an xBA of .286.
The Tigers should have success against the Rays' pen tonight, but they may get it going early.
Rays vs. Tigers Betting Pick
This is one of the rare occasions where many key advantages are in Detroit's favor. The Tigers will have the edge on the mound as Olson is primed for success, and he has a much stronger bullpen to back him up.
On the other side, the Rays' bats are in steep decline while the Tigers' young hitters are finding their footing in the big leagues.
Back the home dogs tonight at +124 on the moneyline.