The 2022 MLB season continues Sunday, June 26, with a three-game interleague series finale at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, so we bring you the best Pirates vs. Rays betting pick and odds.
According to Bookmaker Sportsbook, the Rays are firm home favorites for Sunday’s clash. Tampa Bay will start Shane McClanahan, who’s been their best pitcher so far this season, while Pittsburgh will counter with rookie Roansy Contreras.
The Pirates have improved since their nine-game losing streak
The Pittsburgh Pirates snapped their nine-game skid with a 6-4 victory at St. Louis on June 16. Since then, the Bucs have gone 4-4, excluding the middle contest of the Rays series. At the time of writing, the 29-41 Pirates had a 5-3 lead over Tampa in the top of the seventh.
Pittsburgh was looking to bounce back from a tough 4-3 ten-inning defeat at Tropicana Field on Friday. The Pirates rallied from a three-run deficit just to allow the ghost runner to reach home in the extras.
Roansy Contreras is 2-1 with a strong 2.89 ERA and 38/14 K/BB ratio in six starts and three relief appearances (37.1 innings) in 2022. The 22-year-old right-hander has had a couple of rough outings on the road against St. Louis and Atlanta, but he returned to the right track in a 7-1 home victory to the Chicago Cubs this past Tuesday. Contreras tossed five innings of a one-run ball, allowing four hits and two walks to the Cubs.
The Rays desperately need more from their offense
The Tampa Bay Rays improved to 38-32 on the season following Friday’s 4-3 victory against the Pirates. It was their fourth win in the previous 13 games overall, and the Rays’ offense has scored only 41 runs on a .242/.292/.357 triple-slash during that stretch.
On the pitching side of things, Tampa Bay has compiled a sharp 2.94 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and .200 opposing batting average over the last couple of weeks. Shane McClanahan has been pitching like an ace since Opening Day, and the 25-year-old lefty carries a 7-3 record, 1.81 ERA, and 113/16 K/BB ratio across 84.1 innings of work into Sunday’s battle against Pittsburgh.
McClanahan’s last two starts came against the mighty New York Yankees. He’s allowed five runs (two earned) on seven hits through 12 frames in total, recording a loss and a no-decision. Shane is 6-2 with a pristine 1.95 ERA in ten starts at home this season.
- 1-8 in the last nine games on the road
- 7-2 in Shane McClanahan’s last nine starts
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick
After a couple of tough battles against the Yankees, Shane McClanahan should dominate the Pirates, who have recorded a .206/.270/.404 triple-slash in the last couple of weeks. Of course, McClanahan will need help from his teammates, and I hope the Rays will find their grove against Roansy Contreras and the Pirates’ bullpen.
The Bucs’ relievers sit at 4.17 ERA for the season and hold a 3.75 ERA in their last 36 innings of work. On the other side, the Rays’ bullpen has registered a 2.78 ERA over its last 35.2 frames of work.
Pick: Take Tampa Bay Rays
I wouldn’t be surprised if Shane McClanahan keeps the Pirates off the scoreboard for six or seven innings. Hereof, I lean toward the under on the totals, hoping the Pirates’ bullpen won’t have a meltdown.
Roansy Contreras leans on its four-seam fastball, which has a strong minus-5 run value. Still, he’s ranked in the 20th percentile in xwOBA and the 14th percentile in the expected slugging percentage. On the other side, McClanahan’s curveball and changeup have a minus-7 run value each.
Pick: Go under