The Braves play a quick two-game set with the other Sunshine State outfit at Turner Field Tuesday and Wednesday. Here's our free MLB pick and take on how Tuesday's opener might play out.
Rays-Braves Tuesday Betting Odds
The favorite flipped in the early betting on this game. Originally most books opened Atlanta and starter Mike Foltynewicz at around -110 over Tampa and Erasmo Ramirez, with a total of 7.5 runs. But as of this writing most MLB odds were listing the Rays at around -110.
Rays-Braves: The Situation
Atlanta just swept three games in Miami over the weekend, winning 5-3 Friday, 5-3 Saturday and 6-0 Sunday. In fact, the Braves are 7-2 against the Marlins this year, but only 11-17 against everybody else.
Just before the sweep of Miami Atlanta dropped two of three games to Cincinnati, and just before that the Braves got swept three games by Washington. At 18-19 overall Atlanta trails the Cubs by three games in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
Tampa just dropped two of three games at Minnesota over the weekend, losing Friday 3-2 and Saturday 6-4, avoiding the sweep Sunday with an 11-3 victory. Just before that the Rays took three of four from the Yankees; just before that they split four games with Texas; and just before that they took two of three from Boston. So Tampa is 8-6 over its last 14 games.
At 21-18 Tampa sits a half-game behind the Twins in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.
These teams haven't met since 2012.
Foltynewicz is one-for-three in quality starts this season, which for him began three weeks ago. First, he held Cincinnati to two earned runs through five innings; then he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings against Philadelphia; and last Tuesday he held the Reds to two ER through 6 2/3 innings. So on the season the former first-round draft choice has allowed eight ER and 19 hits in 17 innings, with a 16/10 K/BB ratio; Atlanta is 2-1 in games Foltynewicz has started, with the totals going 1-1-1.
In four starts down at Triple-A Gwinnett this spring Foltynewicz went 0-3, but his ERA was just 2.08, and his K/BB ratio was 30/10 through 22 innings.
This will be Folty's first-ever start against Tampa.
Ramirez is 0-for-three on quality starts this season, but he's been good his last couple of times out. Last Thursday he held the Yankees scoreless on one hit through five innings, and just before that he held Toronto to one run through four innings. On the season, including seven appearances in relief, Ramirez has allowed 18 ER and 24 hits through 24 1/3 innings, with a 20/9 K/BB ratio; Tampa is 2-1 in games Ramirez has started, with the totals going 1-2.
Last year, pitching for Seattle, Ramirez started once against Atlanta, allowing five runs and eight hits in three innings of a game the Mariners eventually won 7-5.
Handicapping the Bullpens
Tampa's bullpen ranks 11th in the Majors with a 3.32 ERA, with 16 saves in 18 chances, while Atlanta's pen ranks 25th in ERA at 4.60, with 13 saves in 18 chances.
Tuesday's Batting Splits
Tampa ranks 22nd in the Majors with a .681 OPS against right-handed pitching this season.
Atlanta ranks 12th against righties with a .726 OPS.
Tampa is 23-16 on the UNDERS this season, but Atlanta is 22-13 on the OVERS.
Games played at Turner Field this season have skewed toward the OVERS by an 11-3-2 margin, by averaging 9.9 runs per.
Rays-Braves Free Picks
Tonight's pitching match-up looks pretty even, and while the Rays own an edge in the pen, the Braves own an edge at the bat. We believe the value on tonight's betting line lies with Atlanta. Also, while Braves home games have trended toward the OVERS so far this season, that looks like a trend that might begin to reverse itself. So for our MLB picks we're thinking UNDER.
Free MLB Picks: Atlanta +103 at BetOnline and UNDER 7.5 runs at GTBets.