Two projected wild card teams square off in an interleague series this week as the Giants host the Rays. Aaron Civale makes his third start for the Rays, while the Giants’ starter has not been officially announced as of this writing, but is expected to be reliever Ryan Walker as an opener followed by starter Ross Stripling.
The Rays are small betting favorites in this game with -118 moneyline odds, while the over/under is set at 9.0 runs. The prediction here is that the Rays win and the under hits.
Rays vs. Giants Prediction
Starting pitchers: RHP Aaron Civale (5-3, 2.61 ERA) vs. RHP Ross Stripling (0-5, 5.10 ERA)
As of this writing, the Giants have yet to officially announce a starter for today’s game, but the expectation here is that Ross Stripling will get the nod.
Stripling may not actually start the game, as the Giants have opted to use lefty reliever Scott Alexander as an opener for two of Stripling’s last three outings. However, Stripling last pitched on August 11 and today would be his normal spot in the rotation, so for all intents and purposes he should be considered the starter who will pitch the majority of the first 6 innings (assuming adequate performance).
After a rough couple of months to start the season, Stripling’s performance has been more than adequate of late. He had a 7.24 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 9 appearances (5 starts, 31-2/3 total innings) when he went on the IL on May 17 with a lower back strain. Since returning on June 28, he has a 3.38 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 9 appearances (6 starts, 40 total innings).
The Rays will have the edge on the mound to start the game with prized trade deadline acquisition Aaron Civale taking the ball. Through his first two starts with Tampa, Civale has not quite been the dominant pitcher he was for most of the season with Cleveland, but he has still been more than serviceable with plenty of room for improvement.
Civale faces a Giants lineup that has fallen off a cliff since the All-Star Break. They are 29th in runs and dead last in OPS (.615) and wOBA (.272) over that span, and they are continuing to trend downward. They entered Tuesday night’s game having lost 7 of their last 9 games. This could be the matchup Civale needs to start looking like a true ace in a Rays uniform.
Even with star shortshop Wander Franco on the restricted list with legal issues, it’s a surprise the Rays are not bigger favorites in this game. Pound the Rays’ moneyline at -118 odds.
We also like the under in this game at the current line of 9.0 runs, mainly because Civale should be able to shut down the Giants. The Rays’ offense has started heating up but with Franco out of the lineup, they won’t score enough runs to push the total over 9.0.
Rays vs. Giants Prediction: Rays’ moneyline (-118), under 9.0 runs (-120)
Note: all metrics above taken before Tuesday’s games
Rays vs. Giants Odds
The Rays are small betting favorites with -118 moneyline odds, while Giants are at -102 on the moneyline at DraftKings. Other sportsbooks like BetMGM currently have the Giants at +100.
The Rays are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +140 odds, while the Giants are getting -1.5 runs at -166 odds.
The over/under in this game is 9.0 runs with +100 odds on the over and -120 odds on the under.
Rays vs. Giants Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Rays vs. Giants.
Aaron Civale vs. LaMonte Wade Jr.
Confidence in Aaron Civale was one of the main reasons for both the Rays moneyline and the under picks in our Rays vs. Giants prediction. The other big reason was the Giants’ slumping bats.
Both those factors combine to make this matchup the key to this game. If Civale meets expectations and keeps this lineup in check for at least 5 innings, if not longer, then those picks will both be looking good.
One of the biggest matchups for Civale will be against Giants rookie LaMonte Wade Jr., who leads the Giants in OBP (.386) and OPS (.797). Wade is significantly better against righties than he is against lefties. He is hitting .267 with an .831 OPS and .368 wOBA against righties compared to .233 with a .642 OPS and .286 wOBA against lefties.
Both clubs in this matchup have solid bullpens, but the edge goes to the Giants, who have one of the best closers in baseball. Camilo Doval’s 33 saves (on 37 opportunities) are tied for the lead league.
San Francisco has 4 relief pitchers with at least 30 appearances and a sub-3.00 ERA – Doval (2.36), Tyler Rogers (2.54), Taylor Rogers (2.83) and Ryan Walker (2.28). Collectively they are 8th in MLB with a 3.74 bullpen ERA and 3rd in FIP at 3.63.
The Rays’ bullpen has been about average this season. They rank 15th with a 4.02 ERA and are 20th in FIP at 4.29. Their ERA has dropped to 4.79 (21st) since the All-Star Break, though they have improved their FIP to 4.05 (13th). The Giants have also improved since the Midsummer Classic, with a 3.56 ERA (6th) and 3.43 FIP (1st).
The strength of the Giants’ bullpen combined with Civale starting for the Rays should be a recipe for the total to stay under 9.0 runs.
Rays vs. Giants Starting Lineups (Projected)
Rays Starting Lineup
1B Yandy Diaz (R)
LF Randy Arozarena (R)
2B Brandon Lowe (L)
3B Isaac Paredes (R)
DH Luke Raley (L)
CF Jose Siri (R)
RF Josh Lowe (L)
C Christian Bethancourt (R)
SS Osleivis Basabe (R)
Giants Starting Lineup
1B LaMonte Wade (L)
2B Thairo Estrada (R)
DH Wilmer Flores (R)
LF Joc Pederson (L)
3B J.D. Davis (R)
RF Michael Conforto (L)
C Patrick Bailey (S)
SS Brandon Crawford (L)
CF Heliot Ramos (R)