MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Tigers vs. Rays: Back the Drew Rasmussen Revolution (Wednesday, May 18)

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Tigers vs. Rays: Back the Drew Rasmussen Revolution (Wednesday, May 18) article feature image

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Rasmussen.

  • The Rays are favored in the series finale this afternoon against the Tigers.
  • Thriving Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen will start opposite Eduardo Rodriguez.
  • Doug Ziefel breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Tigers vs. Rays Odds

Tigers Odds+155
Rays Odds-190
Over/Under7 (+100 / -120)
Time1:10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

It's a getaway day for the Tigers and the Rays, but each club will be vying for a series win after splitting the first two games of this series.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been a team built through their pitching staff, and it should be no surprise that they will run out another quality arm in this game.

Drew Rasmussen appears to be the latest Tampa Bay success story, as his conversion to a full-time starter has gotten off to a great start. However, the Tigers will counter with a proven arm of their own as Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball.

Oddsmakers expect these two starters to duel as the total opened at 6.5. One side has the edge both on the mound and at the dish. Which side is that? Let's dive in to find out.

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Struggling Detroit Lineup Faces Tough Test

A flurry of offseason moves brought a sense of cautious optimism to Detroit, but that has faded quickly. The Tigers will enter this game 10 games under .500 because their diverse lineup has not been able to produce consistently.

Detroit is 28th in the majors in wRC+ and the only team with a negative WAR. While Rasmussen has been a difficult task for every opponent this season, his arsenal may give the Tigers lineup fits.

Detroit's lineup is very young with a few veterans sprinkled in, and many of the young guys have not seen a guy like Rasmussen. He utilizes his cutter, fastball and slider interchangeably as they each possess excellent spin rates and are very difficult to decipher when tunneled well.

Rays Match Up Well Against Rodriguez

Rodriguez has always been a left-hander with reverse splits, but he's taken them to a new level thus far in Detroit. Righties are hitting just .175 and .272 against Rodriguez this season.

However, E-Rod has yet to face a team that hits lefties as well as the Rays. Tampa Bay is eighth in the league in wRC+ against left-handers, and they're 12th in OPS.

Tampa Bay's lineup is full of guys who have hit lefties exceedingly well in its careers. Wander Franco has a career .351 average, and Harold Ramirez and Yandy Diaz are both career .285 hitters against southpaws. Even Mike Zunino, who does not rack up hits all that often, has historically mashed lefties. His career batting average is 29 points higher against southpaws, and his ISO is 13 points better.

On top of all that, Rodriguez is due for some serious regression against righties as his career average allowed is .246 and his xFIP in 2022 is 4.16. That .175 batting average allowed is unsustainable for a pitcher like Rodriguez, and the Rays are more than capable of evening out E-Rod's numbers.

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Tigers-Rays Pick

The Rays have become a team that is not flashy but very talented, and they do all the little things well to help them win ballgames. That may be the most significant edge they have over this green Tigers team.

Nonetheless, they should get to Rodriguez early on as the top of their order spearheads the dramatic splits against left-handers. Although, the bottom of their order features guys like Taylor Walls and Kevin Kiermaier, who can utilize their speed to help manufacture runs if they get on.

As for the Tigers, Rasmussen has been very sharp early on and has displayed excellent command of his arsenal. That is an arsenal of pitches that will all look the same out of his hand but wind up in three very different locations. I expect the Tigers to struggle, especially the first time through the order, which fits perfectly into my handicap of this game.

I'm taking the Rays to get ahead early and hold that lead through the duration of Rasmussen's outing.

Pick: Tampa Bay F5 -0.5 (-110)

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