The Tampa Bay Rays (39-18) are trying to avoid being swept as they take on the Chicago Cubs (24-30) Wednesday afternoon! This game will continue our MLB odds series as we hand out a Rays-Cubs prediction and pick while letting you know how to watch, as well.
The Rays came into this series as one of the best offenses in the MLB, but they have been quiet. Tampa Bay has scored just one run in the two games played. Wander Franco has two hits, but he is the only player on the Rays that has more than one hit. Tampa Bay has just eight total hits on the series, giving them a batting average of .136. To make matters worse for them, none of their hits have gone for extra bases. Rays pitching has 20 strikouts in 16 innings and a 1.13 ERA, so the pitching staff has not been the problem. They have allowed just three runs in the two games.
Cubs pitching has been fantastic. Marcus Stroman threw a complete game shutout and only allowed one hit. Kyle Hendricks went five strong innings in game two, allowing one run on six hits. The bullpen came in and shut down Tampa Bay the rest of game two with Adbert Alzolay striking out four in two innings of work to earn the save. At the plate, the Cubs are hitting below .200 in the series, but they have done enough to get the job done. Only five players on the Cubs have a hit and all five have at least two hits. Nico Hoerner has the lone home run for Chicago while Ian Happ has a double. Mike Tauchman leads the team with two RBI.
Zach Eflin and Justin Steele will be the starting pitchers in this game.
Here are the Rays-Cubs MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Rays-Cubs Odds
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+108)
Chicago Cubs: +1.5 (-130)
Over: 9 (+100)
Under: 9 (-122)
How To Watch Rays vs. Cubs
TV: Bally Sports Sun, Marquee Sports Network
Stream: MLB TV Subscription
Time: 2:20 PM ET/11:20 PM PT
*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
Eflin has been very good this season. He has a 7-1 record and a 1.02 WHIP in 54 innings pitched. He has walked just seven batters and struck out 52. In the month of May, Eflin has gone seven innings three times in five starts. He has been a work horse and has been able to shut down the opposition. Eflin ranks really well in xBA and chase rate. Eflin has been able to get a lot of people to chase out of the zone and make weak contact. The Cubs are at the top of the league in chase contact percentage, but this does not mean they hit the ball hard. Chicago chases pitches and gets themselves out, so Eflin's style of pitching should work in this game.
Why The Cubs Could Cover The Spread
Steele has been one of the best pitchers on the Cubs this season. Chicago has been able to shut down the Rays in this series, so Steele knows the game plan. He should be able to look at what other pitchers have done and repeat that. On the season, Steele has gone at least six innings in nine of his 11 starts. Steele ranks in the 95th percentile in average exit velocity and hard hit percentage. He does not allow hitters to hit the ball hard off him as his average exit velocity allowed is 84.9 mph.
The Rays are in the bottom half of the league in chase rate and whiff percentage. The Cubs have had success this series getting the Rays to chase pitches out of the zone and make weak contact, or swing and miss. Steele knows the zone and can pound the corners, so he should be able to have success against the Rays in this one.
Final Rays-Cubs Prediction & Pick
This game should be very close. One thing that is for sure is the under has a great chance at hitting. With this pitching matchup, I do not see the Rays winning by more than one run, especially with how they have played on the road recently. Expect the Cubs to keep this one close again.
Final Rays-Cubs Prediction & Pick: Cubs +1.5 (-130), Under 9 (-122)