We have a chock-full schedule of MLB action today including a pair of double-header games as there’s baseball all day long across the country.
So, let’s get in on the action as we check out this Rays vs Angels MLB Pick from Anaheim and try to walk away with some money from baseball betting websites.
Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Angels
Over 8.5 (-105)
Under 8.5 (-115)
Rays vs Angels MLB Pick Breakdown
The Rays opened up this three-game set in Anaheim with a 7-3 victory last night behind a solid effort from an early Cy Young contender in Tyler Glasnow while the offense stayed hot after breaking out from a slump on Sunday.
Tonight, they’ll send another fire-balling arm to the bump to start this one as left-hander Shane McClanahan makes his second start of the 2021 season after showing some electric stuff in his first outing of the season last week against the A’s.
In said outing, the southpaw hurled four innings of two-run ball while giving up five hits, but he didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. He averaged 97.5 mph on his four-seam fastball in that one as he largely used a fastball/slider arsenal with the odd changeup and curveball mixed in.
McClanahan is a prized arm in the Rays’ organization who debuted with 4.1 innings out of the bullpen in the Rays’ run to the World Series last fall, although he allowed four earned runs in that time, largely due to two home runs surrendered.
Nonetheless, with the stuff he showed in his first career MLB start, it would appear the Rays have something special in the 24-year-old southpaw.
After averaging 1.67 runs per game over a six-game stretch, the Rays broke out with five runs in their series finale with the Houston Astros on Sunday, and followed that up with another seven runs in their series-opening win over the Angels Monday night. They’ve now scored more runs over their last two than they did in their previous six.
It’s not going to be the best offense in the league, but it’s largely the same group that ranked 13th with a .325 wOBA a season ago. They were supposed to be a little better with a full season’s worth of 2020 postseason hero Randy Arozarena, but he’s struggled a little bit at the plate here in the early going.
Combined with the struggles of a few others in the lineup, the Rays now sit tied for 21st with a .300 wOBA on the season. There’s certainly been a league-wide suppression of offense through the first month of the season as the Rays are far from the only team looking for more at the plate. They’re tied with the Padres, for instance, with that wOBA figure while teams like the Mets and Yankees have yet to put it together, either.
We’ll see if those Rays bats can stay hot into this one tonight.
Not a Relief
One area the Rays have been able to hang their hat on over the last few seasons has been in that bullpen, but there hasn’t been much relief to speak of so far this season.
The Rays are missing a pair of key late-inning arms in Nick Anderson (elbow) and Pete Fairbanks (rotator cuff), so maybe it’s not all too surprising to see the Rays ranking 19th with a 4.29 bullpen ERA on the season. Strikeouts have been an issue with an 8.16 K/9 that ranks 29th in the league while their ground-ball rate of just 38.6% is going to get them into trouble as they’ve been fortunate to allow just 8.8% HR/FB with all the fly-ball yielded.
That said, it’s not all bad. According to Statcast, the Rays’ bullpen ranks sixth with a 34.7% hard-hit rate on the season and ninth with 88 mph average exit velocity against, so those fly-ball they’re surrendering are often not hit hard, hence the low HR/FB rate.
Nonetheless, they’ll look to get their surface ERA number closer to their superior 3.81 FIP moving forward.
A hot start to the season is now in the rear view as the Angels now sit below the .500 mark at 13-14 on the season with an ugly -20 run differential to the boot. The latter figure is the second-worst number in the American League thanks to the Tigers’ atrocious, league-worst -62 mark.
Jose Quintana was roughed up as a late insert into last night’s game as Shohei Ohtani was scratched with a sore elbow stemming from a hit-by-pitch on Sunday, and tonight it’s fellow veteran Alex Cobb getting the nod looking to lower his ERA towards his far-superior peripherals.
Cobb has certainly been the victim of bad luck in the early going. He’s struck out 12.67 batters per nine, walked just 2.76 per nine and allowed only 0.53 home runs per nine. Yet a huge .469 BABIP and tiny 57.4% strand rate has Cobb sporting a bloated 7.16 ERA on the season, although his 2.37 FIP and 2.44 xFIP are fantastic peripheral numbers, as is his 3.04 SIERA.
Statcast has Cobb pegged in the league’s 75th percentile in terms of hard-hit rate, 81st percentile in barrel rate and 100th percentile in case rate. He does have some otherwise middling metrics, but there’s little doubt that Cobb has been victimized by some terrible batted-ball luck in the early going.
No Lefty Luck
The Angels have been among the best offenses in baseball despite their sub-.500 record, but much of that damage has come against right-handed pitching as they rank among the league’s top-five offenses versus righties, not so much against lefties.
The Angels will enter this one ranked 21st with a .301 wOBA on the season against left-handed pitching with a FanGraphs hard-hit rate of just 27.9%, good for 25th league wide.
The lefty-swinging Shohei Ohtani is a fair inferior bat versus left-handed pitching, and making matters worse is the fact that Anthony Rendon — a noted lefty-masher — took a foul ball off the knee and was in a great deal of pain before being carried off the field in last night’s game. He’s listed as day-to-day, but isn’t part of the Angels’ projected lineup tonight. Additionally, breakout bat Jared Walsh — a left-handed bat — is also a superior hitter versus right-handed pitching.
Now, McLanahan isn’t going to go overly deep into this game after going just four innings in his starting debut last week. So, the Angels will face plenty of right-handed pitching in this one as well, it should be noted.
Nonetheless, it appears they may have their hands full with the hard-throwing McClanahan to get things started.
Improvement on the Horizon?
The Angels’ bullpen has been solid, yet unspectacular through the first month and change of the season as they’ll enter this one ranked 17th with a 4.23 bullpen ERA on the season, although their 3.84 FIP and 3.99 xFIP are superior peripherals.
Like the Rays though, the Angels’ bullpen hasn’t been hit hard as their 34.9% hard-hit rate against is the seventh-lowest in the Majors — one spot behind the Rays — while their 5.2% barrel rate is actually the fourth-lowest mark in the league. Add in their sixth-ranked 87.3 average exit velocity against and this certainly doesn’t seem like a bullpen that sits in the bottom-half of the league.
Closer Raisel Iglesias was unable to turn his season around in a non-save situation last night, so they’ll certainly need to get him right if they’re going to make a run for an AL West crown here in 2021.
MLB Pick for Rays vs Angels
As good as the Angels’ overall numbers look at the plate, they’ve actually struggled to score runs more often than not, and as noted they’ve struggled against lefties.
As for the Rays, their offense is hot, but man do Alex Cobb’s peripherals ever look good as he sports FIP, xFIP and SIERA numbers around the 3.00 mark. About four runs below his ERA figure while his K/BB ratio of 4.60 is fantastic.
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