The Rays are the best team in baseball with a 39-17 record on the year. The offense is amazing, with 335 runs, a .344 on-base percentage, and .493 slugging percentage which all rank first in the majors. Their .270 batting average is second in the majors. Yesterday, the offense was non-existent. They managed just one hit in the game, striking out eight times and walking once. Taj Bradley put out a quality game, going 5.2 innings, and his only run allowed was un-earned, but that was nowhere near enough to get the win for the Rays.
The Cubs broke their four game losing streak, and the story of the day was Marcus Stroman. He became the first pitcher to pitch a complete game shutout for the Cubs since 2020. Stroman needed 105 pitches in nine innings to get the win. It was not until the third inning that a Rays batter reached base after Stroman hit Luke Raley. He came back and struck out the next two before getting a weak ground out to retire the side. The next sign of trouble came in the seventh, when Wander Franco hit a single to center and then stole second base. Brandon Lowe would walk before a fly-out and double play ended the inning. Lowe would be the last Rays batter to reach base, as Franco retired the last eight guys he faces to get the win.
Here are the Rays-Cubs MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Rays-Cubs Odds
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (-120)
Chicago Cubs: +1.5 (+100)
Over: 8.5 (-110)
Under: 8.5 (-110)
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Time: 8:05 PM ET/ 5:05 PM PT
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Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
Wander Franco was the only player who could deliver a hit last night. Franco extended his hitting streak to six games but saw his five-game streak of runs scored snapped. Regardless, Franco is hitting .295 this month, while scoring 18 times. He has a .356 on-base percentage and is a problem when he gets on. He stole his 13th base of the month last night. and will be looking to snag another one today
Hitting behind him has been Brandon Lowe, who is looking to get back on track. He is hitting just .201 on the year, with a .164 average on the month. He has not had a multi-hit game since May 17th. There is some hope though. Lowe drew a walk last night, and in the last three games has three RBIs. It is not a major track record of an upswing, but it is still a positive movement for a player that has struggled heavily this year.
The Rays are not all about hitting. Their pitching has been solid as well. They are third on opponent batting average, sixth in team ERA, and fifth in team WHIP. Their ace heads to the mound today. Shane McClanahan heads to the mound today, and he has been stellar this year. He is 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA on the season. His last two starts have been great as well. He is a combined 14 innings, ten hits, one walk, and one earned run in the two starts.
Why The Cubs Could Cover The Spread
The Cubs' hope yesterday was squarely on Marcus Stroman, today it will be on Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks has just one start of the year, and it did not go great for him. He went just 4.1 innings, giving up five runs, three earned, with six hits and two walks. He struggled with command overall and did not look sharp in his first outing of the year. Still, it was his first outing and things should improve.
Chicago will be looking to have Nico Hoerner turn things around from a rough month. He is still hitting .285 on the season and had a hit against the Rays last night. On the month though, it is just a .216 batting average with a .2854 on-base percentage. He has scored seven times this month, but just once in his last five.
The Cubs need Dansby Swanson to continue his hot hitting. He went one for three last night and now has five hits in his last 12 at-bats. He now has hits in eight of his last nine games overall, while scoring three times and driving in five. Also hitting well in the last week is Mike Tauchman. Tauchman is hitting .318 over the last week with a .407 on-base percentage. In that time he has scored three times while also driving in two.
Final Rays-Cubs Prediction & Pick
The Rays have struggled by their standards in their last twenty games, but still, they are the best team in baseball. Last night it took the performance of a lifetime from Stroman to beat the Rays. Still, they only did it by one run. Hendricks just does not have the same stuff that Stroman has. Even more, they are facing the best pitcher so far this year, with Shane McClanahan. Take the Rays in this one.
Final Rays-Cubs Prediction & Pick: Rays -1.5 (-120)