Blake Snell (3-4, 3.08 ERA) and Ervin Santana (4-9, 3.66 ERA) start in the first of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays (44-63) and the Minnesota Twins (43-65) at Tropicana Field. Action begins at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 5 and can be seen on FSN and SUN.
Snell pitched 5.1 innings in his most recent start, surrendering two runs, striking out nine and walking three in a 5-3 win over the Yankees. Evan Longoria (.281, 53 Rs, 23 HRs, 59 RBIs) went 1 for 4 yesterday. Santana went 6.0 innings, surrendering three, striking out five and walking two in a 6-4 win over the White Sox in his last outing. Brian Dozier (.263, 63 Rs, 22 HRs, 61 RBIs, 8 SBs) has been successful at the plate for the Twins, going 2 for 4 yesterday with one run, one home run, and one RBI.
Tampa Bay is a -126 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 -2,569 and a record as the favorite of 26-34. Tampa Bay's pitching staff has been doing better against opposing offenses during the last 10 games, only allowing an average of 2.2 runs per game, well under their season average of 4.4. The Rays are the top team in the AL at limiting hits during home games, allowing only 8.1 hits per contest to their opponents this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Rays, who rank fifth in the AL in strikeouts per game with 8.3.
As for their opponent, Minnesota is coming in with an overall money line of -1,194 and a disappointing record of 33-51 as the underdog. They played solid baseball as the underdog over their last 10 games with a 5-1 record and a 6-4 record SU. Offensively, the Twins have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 4.6 runs per game by averaging 6.3 during that stretch. The Twins have a dynamic offense, ranking fifth in the league with 356 extra base hits. When it comes to issuing walks on the road, the Twins have the fourth-fewest in the AL with an average of just 2.9 walks allowed per game.
The Rays lead the season series, 3-1. The Rays have a 32-49 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Santana takes the mound. Snell (LHP) will be on the hill against the Twins, who have a 14-15 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - TB, O/U - Over
When leading after seven innings, Minnesota is 23-23, while Tampa Bay is 16-25.
The Twins managed to give up four walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Rays who are heading in with a 24-15 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
When they outhit their opponents, the Rays are 27-10. The Twins have a 30-7 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 25th in runs, Tampa Bay has earned 428 this season. Minnesota ranks 12th with 498 runs.
Ranking 16th, Tampa Bay is in the bottom half of the league in walks, notching 321 this season. Minnesota ranks in the top 10 with 347.
When the Rays hit at least one home run, they are 37-37. When the Twins hit at least one homer, they have a 36-34 record.