May 31 Betting Odds: Archer, Bullpens Will Keep Rays-Rangers ‘Under’ Total

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 9:14 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 30, 2017 9:14 PM UTC

The Tampa Bay Rays wrap up a three-game series and their lone visit to Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday (8:05 p.m. ET) with ace Chris Archer on the mound against a starting newbie for the Rangers.

MLB Season Record: 16-11 (one game pending)

Tampa Bay Rays At Texas Rangers (+128, 9.5)

The Rays and Rangers close a three-game series in the heat of Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday night. Both clubs then get a needed off day Thursday.

I would have bet a fairly sizable amount of money that the Rangers would have had a better record than the Rays on the last day of May, but that’s not the case. That Tampa Bay has one of the best staffs in the majors is no shock, and that group ranks fifth in the majors in ERA and sixth in opponents’ batting average. I just didn’t know where the offense was going to come from, but the Rays are Top 10 in runs, on-base percentage and slugging. Corey Dickerson is having a career season in leading the AL in hitting, but he’s the only regular batting better than .280.

As for Texas, it had one of the most misleading 10-game winning streaks any team could from May 8-19. Nine of those wins came over dregs of the league San Diego, Oakland and Philadelphia. The Rangers have come crashing back to earth since once the scheduled toughened up.

They did get some great news Monday when future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre made his season debut. He had been out with a serious calf injury suffered this spring. Beltre singled in his first at-bat of the season for the 2,943rd hit of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson for 33rd place in MLB history. Next up at 32 is Sam Crawford with 2,961. So Beltre should reach the magical 3,000-hit mark at some point this season barring another injury. With Beltre back, the Rangers will have to use Joey Gallo, who leads the team in homers, at either first base or left field. Gallo is the definition of an all-or-nothing player. As of Tuesday, 16 of his 34 hits were homers and he had struck out 71 times.


Wednesday’s Probable Pitchers

It’s ace Chris Archer on the bump for the Rays, and trade rumors continue to surround the right-hander because he’s on such a team-friendly contract and Tampa Bay could enrich its weak farm system by dealing him to a heavyweight such as the Cubs, Dodgers or Yankees for prospects.

Archer (4-3, 3.61) is third in the AL with 72.1 innings pitched and second with 88 strikeouts. He beat the Twins last time out, allowing two runs and five hits over 7.2 innings with 11 strikeouts. Archer has recorded double-digit strikeouts in four of his last five starts, posting a 1.06 WHIP and 51:10 K:BB in 33 innings over that stretch.  Those 51Ks have Archer three behind David Price’s franchise record for a month, set in June 2014. The Rays are 4-0 in Archer's past four Wednesday starts. 

Archer hasn’t faced Texas since 2015 when he was 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA. The Rangers hit .366 off him in those two outings and scored 12 earned runs in 8.2 innings. Beltre is 1-for-14 career against him. I expect Mike Napoli to get the night off considering he’s 1-for-19 off Archer with 11 strikeouts. The only Rangers hitter with success off him is Elvis Andrus, who is 5-for-12 with two RBIs.

It's the big-league starting debut for Texas right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx. He’s a 32-year-old rookie who has been used in four relief appearances by the Rangers, and he has given up five runs and eight hits over 11.1 innings with a 9:3 K:BB ratio. This would normally be A.J. Griffin’s spot, but Griffin is on the disabled list with an intercostal strain. The Rangers have three off days over the next two weeks so this may be the only time that Griffin’s spot in the rotation will need to be used in that stretch. Obviously no Rays have faced Bibens-Dirkx in a big-league game.

 Reasoning Behind Pick

While Globe Life Park in Arlington is a launching pad, I like the ‘under’ total for my MLB pick here because Archer should keep the Rangers largely in check and Texas may only let Bibens-Dirkx have one time through the lineup. Both bullpens should be busy in this one with Thursday’s day off.

Free MLB Pick: ‘Under’ 9.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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