Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers Betting Preview August 4
The Tampa Bay Rays are in the thick of the American League Wild Card race, entering Thursday one game behind the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot.
They have a huge opportunity to pick up some important wins in the playoff race over the next four days as they face the lowly Detroit Tigers in Detroit.
Tampa will come into this series opener knowing that they must pick up some wins against an opponent 20 games below .500 to avoid falling further behind the Wild Card leaders.
Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay comes into this series with the Tigers having just split a two-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays, who are in first place in the Wild Card race. The Rays dropped the first game of that series but rebounded nicely on Wednesday night to salvage a split and avoid falling further behind the Jays and Mariners. Here, the Rays turn to Jeffrey Springs to deliver a quality start to set the tone in this crucial series.
Springs has gone just 3-3 on the season, but his statistical output has been better than his record shows. He has an ERA of 2.70 and has struck out 77 batters in just over 73 innings of work. Against one of the more anemic offenses in Major League Baseball in Detroit, Springs has a great chance to increase his strikeout count and get back above .500 for the season.
The Detroit Tigers come into this series with the Rays with a record of 42-64, as they sit in fourth place in the American League Central. They have lost four of their last five games and are a half-game above the last-place Kansas City Royals in their division. In those four losses, the Tigers have scored three or fewer runs in each game, which means that their pitching has to step up to cover for their poor hitting.
Drew Hutchinson is the pitcher tasked with starting this game for the Tigers, who has struggled for much of this season. Hutchinson is 1-4 on the year for the Tigers, posting an ERA of 4.53 in 17 appearances. He pitched very admirably in his last outing, giving up just one run in five innings of work against the Toronto Blue Jays, and will aim for a similar performance to help the Tigers here.
Keys To The Game
The biggest key to this game for the Rays is simply being able to handle the pressure of this situation. This is a game where the Rays are heavily favored, with the Rays needing to stack up wins to help their playoff chances. Not folding under that pressure is going to be a significant portion of the battle for Tampa Bay in this game and all weekend long.
On the Detroit side, simply putting some runs on the board is going to determine whether or not they have a chance here. Hutchinson pitched well in his last appearance but gave up four runs in each of his last two appearances. The Tigers cannot rely on him to shut the Rays down without doing some scoring to provide them some peace of mind.
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