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Sports news with a Vegas perspective.

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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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MLB Wednesday Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners Preview: Start Time, Odds, Free Pick

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Wednesday afternoon baseball and we will see the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Seattle Mariners in game 3 of their 3 game series. The game is scheduled for a 3:40 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on MLBN, SUN (Tampa Bay) and ROOT (Seattle). Currently the odds have Seattle favored at -121while Tampa Bay is dogs of +114. The total for the game sits at 6.5 runs.

Free Analysis: The Tampa Bay Rays' longest winning streak in two years ended in disappointing fashion. Tampa Bay (63-53) appeared on the verge of winning its eighth in a row Tuesday, leading 2-1 after eight innings, but things quickly unraveled in the ninth. Following a leadoff single by Kyle Seager, a throwing error by Carlos Pena on Chone Figgins' bunt put runners on second and third with no outs. Seager scored on a sacrifice fly, then two batters later Eric Thames lifted the Mariners (54-64) to a 3-2 win with a two-out single. The Rays, who lost for only the fourth time in 16 games, dropped into a tie with Baltimore for the AL's top wild-card spot. They haven't lost a road series since being swept in Kansas City from June 25-27. Bouncing back doesn't seem like it will be easy with a matchup in today's series finale against Felix Hernandez, who has routinely frustrated the Rays. Hernandez has a 1.74 ERA in his last seven starts in the series, and is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in seven career home starts against Tampa Bay with Seattle winning each time. The right-hander was in good position to win a seventh straight decision Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, but the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner couldn't protect a five-run lead. Hernandez allowed five runs and five hits in seven innings in a game Seattle ended up losing 6-5, but he's still 6-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his last 11 starts. Evan Longoria has had some success against Hernandez, going 6 for 16 with three walks, but not many of his teammates can make the same claim. Ben Zobrist is 3 for 22 (.136), B.J. Upton is 3 for 28 (.107) with 10 strikeouts and Matt Joyce is 1 for 9. Scheduled starter Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 3.52), like Hernandez, is hoping to rebound from a shaky outing and should like his chances based on his history in this series. Hellickson has a 7.00 ERA in two outings this month after recording a 2.67 ERA in five July starts, but he has been sharp in four career starts against the Mariners, though, going 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA. Seattle's Dustin Ackley, who had three hits Tuesday, is 2 for 9 lifetime against Hellickson, while Miguel Olivo - batting .318 with three doubles during a five-game hitting streak - is also 2 for 9. 

Free Pick: I really like the Under in this one. Both of these starters have been dominant vs their opponents today as Hernandez comes in with a 1.74 ERA in his last starts vs the Rays and a 1.40 ERA in his last 3 starts here vs them, while Jeremy Hellickson has an 0.92 ERA in 4 career starts vs the M's and in 2 career starts here he has allowed just 2 ER's in 14.1 innings of work. Felix has allowed 2 ER's or less in 8 of his last 10 starts and in his last 10 vs the Rays he has allowed more than 3 ER's just once. The Rays hit anbd score better on the road, where they have a .243 average and score 4.47 rpg, but in 121 AB's vs King Felix, Ray hitters are hitting just .182 and have knocked in a mere 6 runs in those AB's. The Rays have just 4 extra base hits in that stretch and all 4 are doubles. The Mariners have a tone of problems scoring at home, where they average just 3.1 rpg and hit just .205. Vs righties at home they hit just .198 and score 3.49 rpg. Let's also note that Tampa Bay day games have gone 25-14 to the Under, while Seattle day games have gone 23-11 to the Under.  This park gives up a total of 6.3 rpg and with these two starters on the mound and some weak offense I find uit hard to believe these teams will even hit 6 runs, especially since the last 4 in the series has hit no more than 5 runs. look for the same in this one. 

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