Rays, Marlins Meet for Citrus Series Opener; Tampa First 5 Is Pick

Jay Pryce

Monday, May 1, 2017 1:05 PM UTC

Monday, May. 1, 2017 1:05 PM UTC

Tampa and Miami meet in the opener of the 2017 Citrus Series on Monday night (7:10 ET) at Marlins Park. The four-game matchup will shift to Tropicana Field on Wednesday for the final pair. 

Tampa Bay Rays (12-14)

The Rays return to Florida with two runs on nine hits in their last 18 innings while at Toronto. To begin the year, the lineup crosses the plate for 4.4 runs per game but is stranding its fair share of runners in scoring position at 3.7 per contest (28th in MLB). The highest strikeout rate in the bigs at 25.8 percent is partly to blame.

Jake Odorizzi takes the pill for skipper Kevin Cash. The right-hander is making his first appearance since going on the shelf for a few weeks due to a tight hamstring. He tweaked the muscle after one inning of work in his last outing against the Red Sox on Apr. 15. Odorizzi is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 2017. In his five-year career, Odorizzi is 2-1 with a 4.29 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in four starts against Marlins.

As a road dog with Odorizzi on the hill, the Rays are 8-17 SU, scoring 3.8 runs to 4.5 for the opposition. Backers have lost 28 percent of their investment at +135 average odds. Oddsmakers opened Tampa +119 on the money line for Monday night.


Miami Marlins (11-12)

The Marlins struck for 10 runs on Sunday against the Pirates. It is the first time the Fish have scored double digits since Aug 7, 2016. Will the run-fest carry over into Monday? Possibly. Since 2004, the 'over' is 30-18-4 when Miami is at home coming off 10 runs or more.

Wei-Yin Chen gets the honors for Miami. He is 2-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 2017. Chen has squared off against the Rays more than any other team in his career due to his playing days in the AL East with the Orioles. The southpaw is 5-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 20 starts.

Miami is 8-4 SU when Chen takes the mound at Marlins Park. The club lost his only home appearance this season 9-8 vs. the Mets, snapping an 8-win streak behind the lefty. The bullpen, which is performing better than average through April, blew a 2-run lead in the loss. The pen owns a 3.54 ERA through 89 innings as of Sunday, allowing a .238 batting average to opponents. The clean-up crew will likely play a major role in this contest. Chen has only put in two quality starts in his last 10 outings.


Final Analysis

The Rays have dominated this interleague matchup in recent years, going 19-9 SU in the last 28 meetings. Tampa’s rotation has baffled Miami’s roster for the most part, recording 18 quality starts in this stretch. Odorizzi has only put in one in his four outings, however. Still, the right-hander has pitched lights-out in his last seven starts, he and the staff gifting 2.6 runs per game. Sadly, the Rays have won just two games in this stretch with the bullpen collapsing in four of them. Play the Rays through the first five innings, and avoid the unpredictable backend.

Free MLB Pick: Rays First 5 InningsBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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