The Tampa Bay Rays step onto the diamond today, once again with a reliever on the mound for the first pitch. They are changing the way baseball is played right in front of our eyes.
The thought process is that if they have a good matchup they can get three easy outs and then the starter can come in for the second and only have to see the top of the lineup twice. The problem with this is that if the reliever doesn’t get it done, its a long way to go. The options then are to either bring in either the intended starter, where he is now brought into a stressful situation as opposed to his usual clean slate, or use the bullpen for the rest of the game, which is less than ideal.
The Baltimore Orioles have one of the tougher lineups in baseball which makes their record very surprising. At just 17-34 you would think that this team was a cake walk. Enough could not be said about how well Manny Machado is playing this year. Stepping in today with a slash line of .328/.402/.621, he is having an MVP type season, and im assuming already planning on how to spend the big contract he has coming up next year. The O’s strut out Andrew Cashner who has been good of late but has some command issues and can’t seem to keep guys off of base with a 1.55 WHIP on the season, the Rays should have no problem putting up a few runs.
With the total sitting at just 8.5 these teams should be able to hit the over. Look for the O’s to give reliever Ryne Stanek some trouble, and force Tampas hand early to make a pitching move.
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles/Tampa Bay Rays over 8.5