The reeling Rays will look to halt their AL East descent tonight when they open a four game set with the Tigers in St. Petersburg. This evening’s Detroit Tigers vs. Tampa Bay Rays series opener has a scheduled start time of 7:10pm ET at Tropicana Field. MLB Thursday Odds have Tampa Bay listed as a -120 moneyline favorite ($120 to win $100) while Detroit is drawing +110 odds to take the game one clash. The Under 8 runs is presently favored at -125 odds.
The Tampa Bay Rays went into a Sunday double header with the Phillies having dropped three straight games, but it responded by defeating Philadelphia in both games to bring its record to 40-32 on the season. However, the Rays were unable to carry that momentum over to their three game set with the Royals in Kansas City.
Tampa Bay suffered through a sweep at Kauffman Stadium after plating a grand total of six runs in three games. The team, now 40-35, is tied for third in the AL East standings with Boston and it trails division leader New York by 6.5 games.
Rays’ Skipper Joe Maddon will call on veteran right hander James Shields this evening in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Shields owns a respectable 3.99 ERA and 7-4 record, but he has been a mixed bag of late. The California native is coming off a miserable performance at Philadelphia in which he allowed seven hits and five earned runs over five innings. Prior to that outing Shields gave up nine hits and no earned runs while striking out five over 7 2/3 innings against the Marlins.
Shields, who is 5-0 with a 3.51 ERA in eight career starts opposite the Tigers, has been slightly better at home this season. He is 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA in seven starts at Tropicana Field.
Detroit also comes into this evening’s contest in a bit of a slide. The Tigers have lost four of their last six games and they are coming off back-to-back losses to the Rangers. Detroit sits at 36-39 overall as a result and it is four games back of the division leading White Sox in the AL Central.
The Tigers will counter Shields tonight with hard throwing righty Max Scherzer. Scherzer has been all over the map this season in terms of performance and his 5.12 ERA and 6-5 record is indicative of such. The Missouri product has pitched better of late, though, earning three straight quality starts (six innings pitched with three or fewer earned runs allowed). Scherzer, who is making his 16th start of the season tonight, is 4-3 with a 5.01 ERA in nine road starts this year. The Tigers are 5-4 in Scherzer’s nine away outings.
MLB Thursday Betting Trend: The Over is 8-0 over the last five years when the Tigers, coming off back-to-back losses, played as an away team in game one of a series.
MLB Thursday Detroit Tigers vs. Tampa Bay Rays Odds
Detroit Tigers +1.5 (-180), Over 8 (+105), +110 (Moneyline)
Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 (+160), Under 8 (-125), -120 (Moneyline)
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