Coming off a win last yesterday, the Rays have now won four straight games and six of their last ten. Things have been clicking on all cylinders for the Rays as of late. They have scored four or more runs in each of their last four games. At the same time, they have allowed just five runs combined in their last four games. Meanwhile, the Twins have now dropped three games in a row. They are sitting just a game over .500 on the season with a 31-30 record n the year. Still, that is good enough for first place in the AL Central and a 3.5-game lead for the Guardians.
Here are the Twins-Rays MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Twins-Rays Odds
Minnesota Twins: +1.5 (-172)
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+142)
Over: 8.5 (-102)
Under: 8.5 (-120)
How To Watch Twins vs. Rays
Time: 6:40 PM ET/ 3:40 PM PT
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Why The Twins Could Cover The Spread
The Twins' offense has not been amazing this year. While they are 16th in runs scored this year, they are 25th in batting average and 21st in on-base percentage. One of the big reasons the Twins scored in on-base percentage with runners in scoring position. They are currently third in the league in that category, behind just Boston and Texas. Trevor Larnach is having a good year in that regard. He is hitting .314 with runners in scoring position with a .695 OBP. He leads the team with 21 RBIS in those situations as well. Larnach hit just .143 in May before heading to the IL. He did not have a hit in his first game back last night.
Hitting well as of late has been Donovan Solano. Solano is hitting over .333 with six RBIs and three walks in his last six games. While hitting well, he has struggled with strikeouts. He struck out twice last night, and the night before. Since May 1st he has struck out 21 times in just 71 at bats. Solano is getting time at the plate because of an injury to Joey Gallo. Gallo has been dealing with a hamstring issue all year, and it has put the slugger back on the shelf.
The Twins start Pablo Lopez in this game. On the year he is 3-3 with a 4.54 ERA. Lopez has not been great as of late. In three of the last four outings, he has given up four or more runs in under six innings of work. He did come away with one win in there, and his six innings and just two earned run start in between the bad ones picked him up the loss. Still, Lopez has had trouble keeping his pitch count down as of late and has been giving up far too many runs.
Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
The Rays have been the best team in baseball all year. They are led by their offense. The offense is second in the majors in runs scored, batting average, and on-base percentage. They are first in the league in slugging percentage. The pitching has been good as well. They are 3rd in ERA and opponent batting average while sitting 5th in WHIP. The only weak spot of the team has been the bullpen at times. That may be why they are looking at adding a bullpen arm in the future.
The bullpen will have to be solid today though. The Rays will be employing their opener strategy today. It will be Shawn Armstrong taking the mound today. He has only one appearance in the year and it was good. On Sunday against the Red Sox, Armstrong pitched two innings. In that time, he did not give up a hit, walked one, and struck out three.
When the Rays go with the opener, they normally need to score a few extra runs. That will be headed up by Randy Arozarena. Arozarena leads the team in RBIs and is 11th in the majors with 42 of them on the year. Last night he drove in two, and those were his first two of June. After hitting .327 in the first month of the season, Arozarena has cooled off some. He is hitting just .243 since then, with only 14 of his 42 RBIs. If he cannot get it done, Jose Siri might be able to. He hit a home run last night and has driven in an RBI in each of the last two games. In his last ten games, he has driven in eight runs and is starting to produce more.
Final Twins-Rays Prediction & Pick
While there should be some concern with the Rays starting an opener, Pablo Lopez has not been great pitching recently. If he continues to produce as he has been, the Rays will jump all over him. This one may be a higher-scoring game, but that favors the Rays as well.
Final Twins-Rays Prediction & Pick: Rays -1.5 (+142)