MLB Pick for Rays vs. Nationals: Fister Injury Concerns Make Him A Risky Play

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, June 18, 2015 2:25 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 18, 2015 2:25 PM UTC

Our Injury Play of the Day features the best road team in MLB with one of the hottest pitchers in the league. Join in and find out who will be our MLB pick tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays (Archer) -125 vs. Washington Nationals (Fister) 7:05 Est
The Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals wrap up their 4 game inter-league set with a 7:05 start at National’s park on Thursday evening. The Rays lead the series 2 games to 1 after a 5-0 win on Wed. night. That came 24 hours after Washington embarrassed Tampa Bay on the Rays home field by score of 16-4 on Tuesday night. Tonight we line up with the Rays to win the series behind the outstanding work of Archer against Washington starter Fister who is pitching for the firs time since going on the DL in the middle of May with an elbow strain.

At 33-32 Washington continues to be the biggest under achiever in the National League. Coming of a 96 win season last year the NATS were expected to dominate the NL EAST with yet another 90 win season. Injuries have been a part of their mediocre season.  But no one in St. Louis is complaining. At the beginning of the week Washington was ranked 12 in both OPS batting and pitching.  That means that they are well deserving of their record. Fister is a normally reliable starter, especially at home. But the elbow strain clearly explains a mediocre season in which Washington has won just 3 of his 7 starts with Fister posting a 4.31 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. In his previous outing Fister lasted only 2 innings allowing 7 runs on 8 hits in a 8-3 loss to San Diego.

The Rays have performed above expectations with a 37-30 record.  A 0-6 slide in mid May has been followed by a 13-5 run.  In a addition the Rays have posted an 18-11 road record (8-2 recently) which is the best percentage road mark in MLB. Give credit to a pitching staff whose 
.695 OPS was in the top 4 of MLB entering the week. No one has pitched better for Tampa Bay than Archer.  The Rays won 9 of his 14 starts in which he has posted a 2.00 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. That is even better on the road where the Rays have won 5 of 6 Archer starts in which he has posted a 0.81 WHIP.

Those pitching numbers for Archer make him a pure play “on” against an injured Fister who has much to prove following his injury.  With the Rays on a current 13-5 run and the Nationals on a current 6-13 slide we must follow the momentum of both pitcher and team for what could well be a comfortable win.

MLB Pick: Take Tampa Bay Rays at Pinnacle

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