Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics, 6/20/19 10:07 PM ET Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA, TV: Rays (Fox Sports Sun), Athletics (NBCSCA) Radio: Rays (WDAE 620AM/ 95.3 FM), Athletics (KTRB 860, KIQI 1010)
The Rays continue on their road trip, this time out West. Yesterday, their ace, Blake Snell, struggle and get lifted after giving up 6 runs in 0.1 innings against the Yankees. They’ll surely look to change that and improve on their 3-7 record over their past 10 games. On the flip side, the Athletics are coming off a successful homestand against the Baltimore Orioles. They’re 7-3 over their last 10 though sweeping the Orioles almost shouldn’t even count.
The Rays now drop 3.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East though they are 3 games up on the wild card standings. Despite their losing streak, they own an impressive road record of 23-13. If only they could improve on their 20-18 home record, the Rays would likely be sitting at the top of their division. On Thursday night, the Rays will send Charlie Morton (8-1) to the mound as they look to turn their roadtrip around.
In a battle of two of the lowest attendance stadiums, the Athletics will send righty Frankie Montas (9-2) onto the mound in tomorrow’s matchup. They sit 9 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West and 1.5 games out of the second wild card spot. Looking ahead, this series should be a good one either way as the always unrated Rays will take on Moneyball’s team in the Athletics.
1. Austin Meadows (L) DH
2. Tommy Pham (R) LF
3. Brandon Lowe (L) 2B
4. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
5. Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
6. Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF
7. Willy Adames (R) SS
8. Joey Wendle (L) 3B
9. Mike Zunino (R) C
On the year, the Tampa Bay Rays have been a pretty well-rounded team. They aren’t particularly good at any individual category but good enough to get the job done. Their run differential stands at +80 and this series against the A’s represents a great chance to stop their losing streak at 3 games.
Most of the Rays have had very little to no experience against Oakland starter, Frankie Montas. Willy Adames has 1 hit in 1 at-bat and Mike Zunino and Travis d’Arnaud are both hitless. The rest of the roster has yet to face Montas in a major league setting.
Charlie Morton has somehow found even more success this year than in 2018. He comes in with a 2.37 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with already 107 strikeouts. He’s been fairly dominant in his past few starts, including a recent 7 inning, 7 strikeout outing against the A’s. His most recent start against the Angels ended his streak of four consecutive quality starts though he has already produced 8 total this year.
1. Marcus Semien (R) SS
2. Matt Chapman (R) 3B
3. Matt Olson (L) 1B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Stephen Piscotty (R) RF
6. Robbie Grossman (S) LF
7. Ramon Laureano (R) CF
8. Jurickson Profar (S) 2B
9. Josh Phegley (R) C
The Oakland A’s have yet to find their superstar bat in the lineup this season. While many expected Khris Davis to his usual .247 for the fifth straight year, Oakland has found production from a number of different players this year. Davis has a .242 average and 16 home runs but a pretty ugly strikeout rate. Ramon Laureano has been terrific on both sides of the ball though like Davis, needs to cut down on his strikeouts. Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Marcus Semien, and Josh Phegley among others have also contributed to the A’s offense.
Compared to the Rays, most of the A’s have had a chance to face off against the veteran Morton in the past. Semien has had the most success with a .455 and will likely bat leadoff once again in this contest. Following him in the lineup will be Chapman and Davis. Each of that duo has had trouble with Morton in the career with Chapman hitting .154 and Davis going .158 in 14 and 19 at-bats, respectively. Expect Matt Olson to do damage with a .333 lifetime batting average and a homer off Morton. Yesterday afternoon, he made good contact several times but the ball stopped right at the warning track on two separate occasions. If I had to make a call, I think we see a Olson bomb on Thursday night.
Frankie Montas continues to be a bright spot on the A’s starting rotation and is casually making a case for his first career All-Star nod. This will be his first start against the Rays and hence his lack of experience against the majority of their hitters. On the season, Montas has done better against right handed bats and doesn’t show much of a discrepancy between pitching at home and on the road. Look for a solid mix between both lefties and righties against Montas.
Rays vs Athletics Betting Odds
The line is currently set at Rays -122, Athletics +122.
Coming into this game, the Rays are on a bit of a cold stretch. Nevertheless, they are the betting favorites as they command the more established starter in Charlie Morton. Opposing him is Frankie Montas who has broken out and has a chance for a roster spot on the AL All-Star squad if he keeps up this production. The over/under for this matchup is 9.5. I’d expect a low scoring game simply based on the peripherals of the two starters and for the A’s to pull off the upset in a 4-2 victory.
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