Back Injuries Make 'Under' The MLB Pick in Rays vs. Angels Game 2

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, May 7, 2016 11:07 AM GMT

Find out what our capper's take is on the totals for the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels is for tonight and cash in by studying the MLB odds.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels

What You Need To Know
The Rays and Angels have very little in common in some respects. Tampa Bay has one of the majors' smallest payrolls and plays in small-market St. Petersburg, Fla., in perhaps the majors' worst (domed) stadium and doesn't draw well. The Rays probably don't have a player whom a casual fan could name. The Angels of course are in the massive Los Angeles market, draw plenty of fans, have one of the majors' biggest payrolls and one of baseball's biggest-name stars in reigning AL MVP Mike Trout.

What they do have in common is poor offenses, although the Angels' has improved of late as Trout has gotten hot. This month alone (entering Friday), Trout is hitting .444 with two homers and nine RBIs. If the Rays had someone like Trout, they would be scary good with one of the best rotations in the AL. The Rays have a few regulars still hitting below the Mendoza Line -- Desmond Jennings, Corey Dickerson and the worst hitter in baseball right now in Logan Morrison (0.094 with 25 strikeouts and no RBIs) -- and only a couple above .260.

Another thing these teams do have in common: missing their closers. Tampa Bay's Brad Boxberger has yet to pitch in the majors this season due to recovery from core muscle repair surgery. But he is now on a rehab assignment and could return late next week. Alex Colome has been good in his spot. The Angels' Huston Street hasn't pitched since April 23 due to a strained oblique and isn't likely back anytime soon. Joe Smith has done the job in Street's place.

The Angels were also set to get back left fielder Daniel Nava from the disabled list on Friday. Nava, who had been rehabbing from knee tendinitis, will resume his role as the starting left fielder against right-handed pitchers. Left field, even with Nava back, has been a black hole offensively for L.A. Players in that spot are hitting just .232 with no homers and seven RBIs entering the weekend.

Tampa is currently +800 on MLB odds to win the AL East, while the Angels are +550 in the AL West. I'd be shocked if either won its division without a big trade. Tampa needs any hitter and L.A. needs a few starting pitchers and a left fielder.

 

Probable Pitchers
Tampa starts right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who certainly doesn't deserve to be 0-1 considering a 3.12 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Odorizzi was sharp last time out and deserved a win, allowing one run and a season-low two hits in seven innings against Toronto. He took a no-decision in a game Tampa lost 5-1. Run support has been a problem all year for Odorizzi. He has struggled on the road, however, going 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in two starts. Batters are hitting .386 off him on the road compared to .195 at home. Odorizzi didn't face the Angels in 2015 and is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two career starts against them. Trout is 2-for-3 off him with a double and RBI. Nava is 1-for-10 with a homer and three strikeouts. Albert Pujols is 0-for-1. Kole Calhoun is 1-for-4 with a walk. The Rays are 2-5 on MLB odds in Odorizzi's past seven road starts.

The Los Angeles rotation has been ravaged by injuries. C.J. Wilson, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs all are out right now. Ace Garrett Richards was to start Friday's game against the Rays but was scratched. And now there are reports that Richards will need season-ending Tommy John surgery. Wow. Heaney's prospects for major surgery are also increasing. Wow. No team's pitching staff is in such shambles.

Here, the Angels go with right-hander Jered Weaver (3-1, 5.40). The former ace, who now can't even break 90 mph on his fastball, was shelled Monday in Milwaukee, allowing seven runs and 11 hits (both season highs) in five innings. The Brewers were clearly all over him with 11 line drives against Weaver on 21 balls in play.  Weaver retired only four of his final 15 batters. He faced the Rays once last year, June 10 at Tropicana Field, and allowed four runs and eight hits over 7.2 innings in a loss. Evan Longoria is 6-for-20 career off him with three doubles and a homer. Logan Forsythe is 3-for-10 with a double. Brad Miller is just 2-for-19 off him with six strikeouts. The Angels are 5-2 on MLB picks in Weaver's past seven starts.

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Free MLB Pick: Under 8
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline