MLB Picks: Archer To Hit The Mark For Rays vs. Ray & Diamondbacks

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, June 6, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

Monday, Jun. 6, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

Chris Archer has had an up-and-down year as the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays, but a slumping Arizona offense could help make him the MLB pick over the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

 

A supposed ace could finally begin to turn his season around in the desert Monday night when slumping right-hander Chris Archer and those Tampa Bay Rays (25-30, 14-15 away) pay a visit to southpaw Robbie Ray and the Arizona Diamondbacks (25-34, 9-20 home) in the opening game of a three-game interleague series from Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ at 9:40 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Arizona.

The posted money line at Heritage Sports has Tampa Bay as a modest road favorite for this contest at current MLB odds of -112.

 

Rays Now in Last as Many Expected
Quite a few experts predicted that the Rays would finish last in the American League East before the season, but they had a decent start until a recent five-game losing streak indeed dropped Tampa Bay to last place. The good news though as that since that fifth straight loss to the lowly Twins in the first game of a four-game series Thursday, the Rays have gone on to win three straight games, and although they are still last, they are only seven games out of first place.

The Diamondbacks are in fourth place in the National League West, but they are actually further away from first place than the Rays, trailing the first place Giants by 10 games. Granted the D-Backs were shockingly the winning MLB picks over Jake Arrieta and the Cubs 3-2 yesterday as whopping +278 underdogs, but the offense is still struggling and they had lost five of their previous six games to put themselves in their current position.

 

Strikeouts Give Archer Hope for Turnaround
Archer is the ace of the Tampa Bay staff, but that is only in name only for the time being as he is a disappointing 3-7 with a 4.75 ERA and 1.52 WHIP while allowing less than four runs just once in his last five starts, which was four starts ago May 17th in Toronto. To be fair though, he did also receive credit for a Quality Start two starts ago vs. the Yankees when he allowed four runs on only four hits in eight innings, as he only allowed one earned run.

He was unable to build off of that solid outing though when getting roughed up for five runs (four earned) and eight hits in six innings in Kansas City in his last start Wednesday. So what exactly is wrong with Archer this year? Well, the biggest red flag is allowing a career high 4.21 walks per nine innings thus far, but other than that he has actually pitched in some bad luck.

You see, Archer still has 76 strikeouts in 66.1 innings, with that rate of 10.31 strikeouts per nine innings ranking 11th in the majors. That has helped lead to a 3.71 xFIP which, while higher than past years, is still more than a full run lower than his ERA. He has also been a bit unlucky in yielding a .324 BABIP, and it helps to now be facing a slumping Arizona offense that has failed to top three runs in five straight games while batting .204 and averaging 2.29 runs vs. righties.

 

Poor Home Numbers for Rays
Ray has fairly similar mainstream stats as Archer for the Diamondbacks as he is 2-4 with a 4.74 ERA and 1.67 WHIP, and even his ratio of 10.42 strikeouts vs. 4.42 walks per nine innings is eerily similar to that of Archer! However, just like most of the Arizona pitching staff, Ray has not pitched nearly as well at home in this hitter’s paradise where games are averaging a combined 10.59 runs this season.

Ray is 1-2 at Chase Field with a bloated 6.93 ERA and 1.82 WHIP over 24.2 innings covering five starts, meaning that he has lasted less than five innings per start on average. The last time Ray pitched here, he was touched up for five earned runs on nine hits plus two walks in just 4.2 innings by a San Diego Padres team not particularly known for its offense.

Now Ray faces a Tampa Bay offense whose best split this year has been vs. left-handed pitchers on the road, as the Rays are batting a healthy .292 while averaging a potent 6.62 runs in this circumstance for the season.

 

Diamondbacks are 9-20 in Phoenix!
Finally, partly due to the Diamondbacks’ pitchers not pulling their weight at home this year, Arizona is an almost unfathomable 9-20 in Phoenix for the season, compared to a winning 16-14 record on the road! The Diamondbacks are also 1-7 in Ray’s last eight starts overall, while the Rays are 42-19 in their last 61 interleague games vs. teams with losing records.

Given the troubles the Diamondbacks have had at home and Archer being a much better pitcher than he has shown this season, look for those trends to continue and back Tampa Bay as a modest road favorite visiting Arizona in interleague play from Phoenix on Monday.

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Free MLB Pick:  Rays -112
Best Line Offered:   at BetOnline
MLB Record: 33-31-1, +5.40

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