Free MLB Picks: Tigers Aim for Series Sweep Against Reeling Rays

Jay Pryce

Sunday, July 3, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 3, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

The Rays turn to strugglnig ace Chris Archer Sunday afternoon, hoping to avoid a four-game series sweep to the Tigers in Tampa. Get your free pick with betting analysis here. 

Detroit Tigers (43-38) – Mike Pelfrey (2-7, 5.02 ERA)
The Tigers look to make it a four-game road sweep of the Rays this afternoon, outscoring the home club 23-11 through the first three. It would be their first multi-game sweep in Tampa since September 2009.

Mike Pelfrey gets the honors for skipper Brad Ausmus. It has been a so-so season for the groundball specialist, he and the bullpen gifting four runs or more in all but two of his 15 starts. Pelfrey picked up only his second win of the year last time out in a 7-4 victory over the Marlins, despite yielding four earned runs on 12 hits in 5.1 innings.

Pelfrey has been particularly poor on the road in his career. Teams (Mets, Twins, Tigers) are 12-30 SU in his away starts, the veteran right-hander owning a 5.22 ERA with a 1.62 WHIP when traveling. Detroit is 1-6 outside of Comerica Park behind Pelfrey in 2016.

 Pelfrey’s numbers against the Rays are par for the course. He is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in three lifetime starts. The current Tampa roster is hitting just .238 against with Logan Morrison (.133) seeing the lion share of plate appearances (17). Three-time All Star Evan Longoria is 4-for-8 with a homer, double and four RBI.

Since 2010, the Under offered on MLB Odds is 13-2 when the Tigers go off as road underdogs in Tampa with a 6.5 average combined score. Since May 1, the Tigers are 6-15 as road dogs, giving up 5.6 runs on 9.8 hits per game.


Tampa Bay Rays (33-47) – Chris Archer (4-11, 4.76 ERA)
The last few weeks have tested the Rays’ resolve. They are 2-15 in their last 17 games, outscored by a whopping three runs per game on average (6.5-3.5). Detroit may not be the best matchup to right the ship either, with Tampa going 2-8 in their last 10 meetings.

Chris Archer hopes to reverse both trends today, taking the pill for manager Kevin Cash. Like Pelfrey, 2016 is a challenging year for the team’s ace, earning just two wins in his last 10 starts. Overall, the Rays are 5-12 when last year’s All Star commands the bump.

Archer is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in five lifetime starts against the Tigers. It’s a mixed bag of success against the current roster. Archer baffles Ian Kinsler (2-for-18) and Victor Martinez (2-for-11), holding each to sub .200 batting averages. Slugger Miguel Cabrera, though, is 4-for-10 with a dinger and three RBI.

Offensively, it’s just a weird year for the Rays—luck and timely hits are hard to come by. They knock in the fifth-fewest runs (4.06) in MLB, despite ranking fourth in isolated power (.185) and home runs per game (1.38). Their .49 hit-into-double plays per game are the most of any team.


Final Analysis
Throughout his career, strikeouts are Archer’s go-to to get out of jams. He still has swing-and-miss stuff despite his recent struggles, but with Hunter Wendelstedt behind the plate—not necessarily a pitcher-friendly umpire—we are not sure how much help he will get against a semi-patient Tigers lineup.

In the last calendar year, the Rays are just 7-18 when Archer fans less than nine batters in a game, a mark he has touched just four times all season and surpassed once in five lifetime starts against the Tigers. He and the bullpen allow 5.5 runs per game in this situation. Despite some of these numbers, we think this might turn into a low-scoring affair that can go either way, but we will jump on the dog at a nice price against a totally lost Tampa team of late. Tigers +142 is the free MLB Pick.

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Free MLB Pick:  Tigers +142
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker
Record YTD: 82-53-4 (-105 avg. odds); MLB: 20-9-2 (+103 avg. odds)

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