While almost the entire league was in action on Monday, the Marlins and Rays were the only two teams left out of the fun as they awaited the start of their quick two-game set in Miami. Let’s take a look at the odds for this interleague, cross-state clash, where my prediction is a Rays win, to hit their -102 moneyline, and over 7.5 runs scored.
Rays vs. Marlins Prediction
As Brandon Lowe so eloquently put it, the Rays are focused on big things, and need every game. After a historic start to the year, they’ve cooled down a considerable amount and have even slipped behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East race. The ship has been righted, to an extent, with eight wins in their last 11 games, including six of their past seven, and five consecutive series wins, but the Rays are still looking up in the standings as the Orioles lead the East by 2.5 games.
The Marlins are in a somewhat similar position to the Rays, albeit with some major differences. The Marlins are also locked in a postseason push with the exact same 2.5 games to make up, but for them, the prize is a Wild Card, and the alternative is missing the playoffs entirely. At 19.5 games behind the incredible Atlanta Braves, the NL East is off the table, but the postseason would be a true accomplishment for this group, which entered the year with few expectations.
Unlike the Rays, the Marlins are still in one of the roughest stretches of their season; they’ve won just three of their past 11 games, and lost seven times in an eight game stretch at the beginning of August. They need to turn things around, and do it before too long; the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Giants and Reds are all pulling away in the hunt for the NL’s last two seeds. Currently, Miami is just a game over .500, and owns a significant negative run differential; if they were actually good earlier this year rather than just lucky, now is the time to prove it.
These two teams played another mini-set in Tampa, in which they split the two games. This series took place back in July, shortly after an eight game losing streak for Miami coming out of the All Star break, while the Rays had won just one of their previous eight games leading up to the contests. Once again, both teams are in need of some momentum, and both have an appropriate starting pitcher for the occasion.
For Miami, it’s reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcántara, who has failed epically in his defense of the award; he’ll be throwing against Aaron Civale, a deadline acquisition from the Guardians. Civale is in much better form, and I love the value on his Rays at just about even money. The total is tougher, but 7.5 is an extremely low number, and with Alcántara far from his best form, I’m going to have to take the over.
Rays vs. Marlins Prediction: Rays ML (-102), o7.5 runs (-112)
Rays vs. Marlins Odds
The Rays are slight road underdogs at -102 on the moneyline, while the Marlins are -118. For a run total of 7.5, the over is -112 and the under is -108.
Rays vs. Marlins Key Matchups
Aaron Civale vs. Contact Bats
Civale has been a positive addition to the Rays rotation, but hasn’t yet achieved quite the level of dominance he did during an outstanding start to the year with Cleveland; his ERA since the trade is more than a run higher than before. With homers and walks both down, the clear culprit is base hits, Civale is allowing a brutal 11.1 per 9 innings across his first four starts as a Ray, so let’s look at some Marlins who hit for contact.
The team is seventh in the majors in batting average, led by Luis Arráez, whose mark of .350 is the best in the National League. Jake Burger has also been great since coming over, he’s earned a .333 average across 23 games in Miami. Josh Bell has also chipped in nicely with a .276 average since being traded at the same time as Burger, just behind infielder Jon Berti who has hit .280 this season. Even beyond Arráez, the Marlins have plenty of hitters who can work a base knock, a key reason I have this game’s total getting over 7.5 in my Rays vs. Marlins prediction.
Sandy Alcántara vs. Hard Hitters
After a well-deserved Cy Young Award last year, Alcántara has failed to live up to the hype this season. He’s allowing more home runs and total hits per 9 innings of work, and the analytics say it’s not just bad luck; his xBA and xSLG allowed are both going the wrong direction as well. Unluckily for Alcántara, the Rays are fourth in the majors with a .447 slugging percentage; he’s going to have his work cut out for him.
The Marlins might have the MLB hitting leader, but Tampa’s Yandy Diaz is leading the chase for the AL batting title with a figure of .326, which drives a team-best .507 slugging percentage. He missed Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch, but after the day off on Monday, he should be ok to play against Miami. Isaac Paredes is right behind with 26 homers and a .506 slugging percentage in what has been a breakout season, while Luke Raley doesn’t qualify for leaderboards but he’s slugging .514, higher than anyone else on Tampa’s roster.
The depth of this lineup makes it impossible to touch on all of the key bats, with more guys like Jose Siri, Josh and Brandon Lowe, Harold Ramirez and Randy Arozarena all contributing in a big way, and that depth is also what makes them my pick to win this game.
Rays vs. Marlins Starting Lineups
Rays Starting Lineup
1B Y. Diaz R
2B B. Lowe L
LF R. Arozarena
DH H. Ramirez R
3B I. Paredes R
RF J. Lowe L
SS O. Basabe R
CF J. Siri R
C C. Bethancourt R
Marlins Starting Lineup
2B L. Arraez L
DH J. Soler R
1B J. Bell S
CF J. Chisholm Jr. L
3B J. Burger R
LF B. De La Cruz R
RF J. Sánchez L
C J. Stallings R
SS J. Berti