Rays the Pick Behind Archer at First-Place Baltimore

chris archer

Jay Pryce

Monday, April 24, 2017 1:09 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 24, 2017 1:09 PM GMT

The Rays stunk it up worse than a bushel of dead blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay at Baltimore last season, winning just two of 10 meetings. Tampa hopes Chris Archer can right the ship vs. Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles in the opener of their first three-game visit to Camden Yards on Monday (7:05 p.m. ET).
 

Tampa Bay Rays (10-10)

Starting pitcher: Chris Archer (2-0, 3.20 ERA)

Tampa sits 3.5 games off the AL East-leading Orioles through the first 20 games, hoping to change their most recent fortunes at Camden Yards in this early-season three-game visit. The Rays are 2-9 in their last 11 trips to Baltimore, unable to cool off the big-slugging Birds. The staff allows 5.8 runs per game in this span, Baltimore scoring five runs or more in all but two contests.

Rays skipper Kevin Cash turns to his ace Archer to get the team on the right path at its division rivals in 2017. The right-hander has not had much success in the past. Archer is 3-6 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 13 career appearances (12 starts) vs. the O’s.

The Rays have won Archer’s last five starts. Hot hitting has helped the streak, supporting the right-hander with 6.6 runs per game. Overall, the staff is yielding 4.0 runs per contest.

One has to go back to July 2013 to uncover the last time Tampa won six or more of Archer’s outings in a row.

 

Baltimore Orioles (12-5)

Starting pitcher: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 5.51 ERA)

Prior to Sunday’s 6-2 drubbing by the Red Sox, the Orioles were the hottest team in baseball, going 8-2 in their previous 10 games. Most of Baltimore’s long winning stretches under manager Buck Showalter are courtesy of the bats. This run was different with pitching carrying the momentum. Prior to Sunday, the staff yielded 2.8 runs per game on 8.0 hits during this span.

Showalter couldn’t pick a better arm in the rotation to get the team back to its winning ways than Jimenez. For one, the right-hander has good history vs. the Rays. Jimenez’s 1.12 career WHIP is his lowest against any MLB club. Overall, the veteran arm is 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA in eight lifetime starts.

Jimenez also carries some eye-popping trends into the outing. For one, Baltimore is 8-1 SU in his last nine starts. The more impressive fact, however, is this: since June 2014, the O’s are 25-6 SU behind the 11-year pro at Camden Yards. The team averages 5.6 runs per game, while allowing just 3.9. Versus AL East foes, the team is 11-1 SU, winning by a 2.6 average margin. At -104.7 odds, backers have returned 80 percent profit in this time.

 

Final Analysis                       

Jimenez has gotten the better of Archer in two career duels, winning 5-0 in June 2013 with the Indians and again last September 5-4 with the O’s. Look for the Tampa ace to flip the script in this one. In the last calendar year, Baltimore allows 5.61 runs per game in Jimenez’s outings vs. teams scoring more than the MLB current average of 4.2 runs per contest. The Rays enter with one of their better-hitting teams in recent memory, crossing the plate 4.7 times per game, eighth best in the bigs. Oddsmakers opened Archer and Co. at -102 with early adjustments dropping the line to -120 as of publication. We’re laying the number as early as possible.  

MLB Free Pick: Rays -120Best Line Offered: Heritage

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