Drew Smyly (1-2, 3.42 ERA) and Tommy Milone (6-3, 3.69 ERA) take the hill in the last of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays (62-64) and the Minnesota Twins (65-61) at Tropicana Field. The Twins won the last game 5-3, continuing a six-game winning streak. Action begins at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 27 and can be seen on SUN and FSN.
Smyly pitched 5.2 innings in his last outing, surrendering zero runs and striking out two in a 2-1 win over the Athletics. Steven Souza Jr. (.214, 47 Rs, 15 HRs, 34 RBIs, 10 SBs) went 1 for 2 yesterday with two runs. Milone went 1.0 innings, surrendering zero runs and striking out two in a 4-3 defeat to the Orioles in his most recent start. Brian Dozier (.244, 86 Rs, 26 HRs, 66 RBIs, 10 SBs) went 1 for 5 yesterday with one RBI.
Tampa Bay is a -155 favorite against Minnesota and the Over/Under (O/U) for this game is sitting at seven runs. The Rays have an overall money line of -329 and a record as the favorite of 29-27. Tampa Bay has gone winless in its last 10 as the favorite. Tampa Bay's pitching staff has been doing poorly against opposing offenses during the last 10 games, allowing an average of 4.9 runs per game, well above its season average of 3.9. The Rays are the second-best team in the AL at limiting hits to their opponents, allowing only 8.0 hits per game so far this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Rays, who lead the AL in strikeouts per home game with 9.0.
In games where it is the underdog, Minnesota has a 49-51 record and an overall money line of +1,577. Offensively, the Twins have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 4.3 runs per game by averaging 5.9 during that stretch. When it comes to issuing walks, the Twins have the fewest in the AL with only 2.5 walks allowed per game.
The Twins lead the season series, 4-1. The Rays have a 21-14 record against left-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Milone takes the mound. Smyly (LHP) will be on the hill against the Twins, who have a 22-20 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - TB, O/U - Over
Tampa Bay has won 48% (25-27) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Minnesota has won 49% (21-22) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Twins managed to give up five walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Rays who are heading in with an 8-6 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they are outhit, the Twins are 12-53. The Rays have a 13-40 record when opponents outhit them.
Tampa Bay and Minnesota both rank in the bottom half of the league in home runs. Tampa Bay sits at 17th with 118 home runs this season and Minnesota ranks 16th with 120.
Tampa Bay and Minnesota both rank in the top half of the league in hits. Tampa Bay sits at 13th with 8.30 hits per game and Minnesota ranks 11th with 8.38.
Ranking 21st, Tampa Bay is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.706). Minnesota ranks in the bottom half at 20th with an OPS of .707.
The Twins are 35-49 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Rays are 29-48 when they allow at least one homer.