The Rays saw their undefeated record slip away against the Blue Jays, dropping two straight in Toronto, and they’re officially in a bit of a skid after three losses in four days. The Reds will have one of their promising young arms on the mound in Nick Lodolo, so it won’t get easier for Tampa. The Rays are very slight favorites at -115, with an over/under of 9.5 runs.
Let’s make predictions for Tuesday’s game and take a look at why Lodolo might be due for a bit of regression against the talented Rays.
Rays vs. Reds Prediction
This is a tight battle. The Rays are the better team, but they have an unproven arm going up against one of the fastest-rising pitchers in baseball. Is an offense that leads the AL in most categories up for the challenge? Lodolo’s season to this point indicates Tampa could fare well here.
Lodolo was fortunate to survive a slew of hits in two of his three starts, and so far the Rays are making contact at a very high rate. In a hitter-friendly ballpark, it would be surprising to see Tampa’s offense struggle as much as it did on Monday.
Taj Bradley had ups and downs in his MLB debut but managed eight strikeouts in 5 IP. Facing a Reds lineup that has hit pretty well but battled strikeout issues this season, Bradley looks like he can build on his promising first start.
Rays -110 is my pick here, with Tampa looking to avoid four losses in five games.
Rays vs. Reds Prediction: Rays -110
Rays vs. Reds Odds
The Rays enter as very slight favorites at -115 on the moneyline. The over/under is 9.5 runs.
This line feels pretty fair, despite the Rays’ huge success so far this season. The offense should be due for a bounce-back day, but it’s hard to argue that Lodolo isn’t one of the game’s best young starting pitchers. The question of the game will be whether Bradley can rise to the task after showing flashes in his MLB debut.
Rays vs. Reds Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Padres vs. Brewers.
Nick Lodolo vs. Rays’ High-Contact Lineup
Lodolo has been terrific early on this season, taking a 2.12 ERA into this start, but he’s given up more hits than you’d expect. Lodolo is surrendering 9.5 hits per nine innings, including outings in which he allowed eight and seven hits in only five innings, respectively. He has missed bats this season, but the contact he’s giving up is putting traffic on the basepaths.
That could be an issue against the Rays. Tampa leads the AL with a .280 AVG entering Monday, according to the MLB, and they tagged Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah for 7 ER on Sunday to prove they don’t only do it against bad teams.
Considering the Rays have also hit for impressive power and will be playing in a small stadium, Lodolo could be in trouble if he’s giving up consistent contact. That’s a major reason for my Rays vs. Reds prediction.
Taj Bradley’s Inexperience vs. Reds Lineup
Highly-touted pitching prospect Taj Bradley will be on the hill for the Rays on Tuesday night, making the first road start of his career. The Cincinnati crowd isn’t exactly expected to be a challenge for Bradley, but going up against a brand new lineup in a new stadium is something to watch for any starter.
The Reds have actually hit well this season, averaging close to five runs per game. Playing in a hitter-friendly stadium helps, but the downfall of this Cincinnati team is more likely to be its bullpen than its offense.
Bradley allowed three runs in his debut but generally missed bats, striking out eight Red Sox hitters. He averaged 10 K/9 as a minor-leaguer, and the Reds have admittedly struck out often this season with a bottom-10 mark in all of baseball.
Rays vs. Reds Starting Lineups
Rays Starting Lineup
1B Yandy Diaz R
2B Brandon Lowe L
LF Randy Arozarena R
SS Wander Franco S
DH Luke Raley L
3B Isaac Paredes R
RF Josh Lowe L
CF Manuel Margot R
C Christian Bethancourt R
Reds Starting Lineup
2B Jonathan India R
LF TJ Friedl L
DH Jake Fraley L
C Tyler Stephenson R
RF Wil Myers R
1B Jason Voslerl L
3B Spencer Steer R
CF Nick Senzel R
SS Jose Barrero R