Los Angeles Angels vs Tampa Bay Rays (8/25/22) Starting Lineup, Betting Odds, Prediction

It’s been a strange season for the Los Angeles Angels.

They suffered a 14-game losing streak after leading the AL West. Their superstar two-way player is firmly in the Cy Young conversation and the second-leading MVP candidate in the betting markets. Their superstar center fielder, who was on pace to be the best baseball player of all time, learned he has a rare back condition that will haunt him for the rest of his career.

Now, the long-time owner is considering selling the team.

The Angels are the exact opposite of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays see some of the highest roster turnover of any team in MLB but continue to win games despite their abnormally low payroll. The Rays are consistent to the point of being inevitable.

The Rays are hunting for the sweep in this one, but do the Angels have a chance of stopping them?

Let’s dive into the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Thursday’s battle.

Los Angeles Angels vs Tampa Bay Rays Odds

While the Rays deserve to be heavy favorites at The Trop following two dominating performances, this line feels high.

It might be an overreaction line, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see money pour in on the Rays.

But I think it’s worth taking a good, long look at the Angels here.

Los Angeles Angels Starting Lineup

2B D. Fletcher R
CF M. Trout R
DH S. Ohtani L
RF T. Ward R
3B L. Rengifo S
1B J. Walsh L
LF J. Adell R
C M. Stassi R
SS A. Velazquez S

Los Angeles Angels vs Drew Rasmussen

Rasmussen was two outs away from perfection just 10 days ago before giving up a hard-hit single with one out in the ninth. But just falling short shouldn’t take away from how effective he’s been lately.

He backed up that almost-perfect performance by pitching 5 ⅔ innings of two-run ball against the Royals. He struck out eight while walking just one in the start.

Rasmussen is just another pitcher the Rays cook up in their lab. They get him to throw more strikes, rely on the defense behind him, and the results come – even if Rays pitchers tend to overperform their peripherals.

In two years with the Milwaukee farm system, Rasmussen walked over 12% of the batters he faced. In two years at the MLB level with the Rays, that number is down under 7% and is closer to 5% this season. His BABIP is only .260, but he fills up the zone and lets his defense take care of things. It’s the Tampa Bay way.

That approach should work fine against the Angels Thursday. The Halos have nothing going on offense. They’ve posted MLB’s lowest OPS (.623), wOBA (.272), and wRC+ (74) over the last 30 days.

Outside of Shohei Ohtani (and Mike Trout when he’s not injured), these Angels are lifeless.

Tampa Bay Rays Starting Lineup

3B Y. Diaz R
RF R. Arozarena R
1B I. Paredes R
DH H. Ramirez R
2B Y. Chang R
C F. Mejia S
LF M. Margot R
SS T. Walls S
CF J. Siri R

Tampa Bay Rays vs Patrick Sandoval

I quite like Sandoval as a pitcher. He has the necessary stuff to make it in at the top level, including ranking above the 85th percentile in curve spin rate and chase rate, and he’s become a nice complimentary southpaw starter.

He’s definitely overperformed. His 3.14 ERA is paired with a 3.73 xFIP and a 4.15 xERA. His home-run rate is too low (5.4%) and should regress eventually, although it’s pretty late in the season. Plus, he walks too many batters to be considered elite (4.05 BB/9).

But Sandoval has accumulated 2.8 fWAR this season. That’s more than all-but-eight American League pitchers, although he isn’t qualified because he’s only pitched 108 innings.

Facing him today will be the craftiest offense in the Majors. When one Ray goes down, others step up.

Wander Franco has barely contributed this season, but check out Harold Ramirez. The former Guardian has played 85 games over four different positions this season and clocked in a 144 wRC+ – he had never eclipsed 92 before this year with either Miami or Cleveland.

Brett Phillips and Kevin Kiermaier are gone, but Yandy Diaz has stepped in with a career-high 27 doubles and a 132 OPS+. His 2.6 fWAR will also be a career-high once this season is up.

All-in-all, the Rays figure out how to hit timely and win games. They’re in poll position in the AL Wildcard race with an offense that’s top-10 in wRC+ over the last month (103).

I wish all our favorite teams could be as efficiently good as the Rays.

Los Angeles Angels vs Tampa Bay Rays Pick & Prediction

My picks: Los Angeles Angels ML (+160 at PointsBet)

I fully believe this is an overreaction line, and I love the Angels to try and salvage this series on Thursday evening. The Halos may be lifeless, but they win this game more often than the +160 line implies.

Especially with Sandoval on the mound. Rasmussen is on a hot streak, but he’s not a massive upgrade over his southpaw counterpart.

Hopefully, Ohtani and Trout can provide enough offense to make this bet worth it.

Either way, I’d project this line closer to +125 than +160, and would happily bet the Angels down to +140.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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