The Tampa Bay Rays face off against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon to close down a four-game series at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, as the reigning vice-champions look to get back on the winning path. The Mariners beat the Rays in each of the first two contests, so let’s see that the best betting pick for the closer of this American League showdown.
The Rays lost 6-5 as -168 favorites in the opener and 5-1 at even odds in the second game this past Friday. Tampa was a -135 fave on Saturday, while the Rays sit at -140 moneyline odds for Sunday’s closer. The Mariners are +130 home dogs with a total of 8.0 runs on BetRivers Sportsbook.
The Rays had just five hits on Friday
The Tampa Bay Rays fell to 43-28 on the season following that 5-1 defeat at the Mariners. It was their fourth loss on the spin, but the Rays were still topping the AL East, half a game ahead of the Red Sox and six games ahead of the Yankees.
Tampa blew a 5-2 lead last Thursday, allowing a couple of runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Rays combined for just 13 hits through the first two games against the Mariners and had only five in a 5-1 loss. They need more from their offense, as the Rays have recorded a poor .690 OPS over the last two weeks while batting .233.
Rookie Shane McClanahan will take the hill Sunday, and he’s 2-2 with a 4.42 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in nine starts. The 24-year-old lefty owns a solid 46/13 K/BB ratio across 38.2 innings of work, but he’s struggled lately, yielding nine earned runs on 17 hits and six walks through his previous three outings (11.1 frames).
The Mariners look hot at the plate
The Seattle Mariners improved to 36-36 on the season following Friday’s victory to the Rays. They recorded the fifth win in the last six outings, so the Mariners were tied with the Angels for the third spot in the AL West on Saturday, trailing eight and a half games behind the leader, the Oakland Athletics.
The Mariners have recorded an impressive .312/.362/.502 slash line over their previous six outings, excluding Saturday’s clash against Tampa. Seattle is still averaging just 4.00 runs per game this season (21st in the majors) on a .216 batting average (29th) and a .667 OPS (28th).
Marco Gonzales will get the starting call Sunday, and the 29-year-old lefty is 1-4 with a 5.44 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in eight starts this season. He’s missed some time due to a forearm injury, allowing eight earned runs on 15 hits and four walks through three starts since returning to the Mariners’ rotation.
- 24-9 in the last 33 games overall
- 5-9 in the last 14 home games against the AL East
- 1-4 in Marco Gonzales’ last five starts
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Seattle Mariners Pick
Although the Mariners have played very well over the last week, I’m expecting the Rays to bounce back in Sunday’s closer. Marco Gonzales hasn’t lasted more than five frames in each of his last three starts, and the Rays should get a chance to score some runs of his relievers.
On the other side, the Rays have way more depth in their bullpen that sports the third-lowest ERA in the majors (2.95). Even if Shane McClanahan starts to struggle, the Rays’ relievers should give their bats an opportunity to win this game.
MLB Free Picks: Take Tampa Bay Rays at -140
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Seattle Mariners Total Pick:
Seattle’s relievers own the 11th-highest ERA in baseball (4.27). They’ve recorded a 5.79 ERA in June (28th), and with a long afternoon on the horizon, I’m backing the over on the totals. Of course, the Rays bullpen might be a tall task for the Mariners, but the hosts are swinging a hot bat at the moment and should be able to score a few runs.
The over is 9-4 in Seattle’s last 13 games overall, and it is 4-1 in the previous five meetings between the Mariners and Rays.
Pick: Go over 8.5 runs at -110