Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles Prediction & Picks
Date: Saturday, August 7
Time: 7:05pm ET
Where: Camden Yards
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles Probable Pitchers
- Rays: Shane McClanahan (5-4, 3.74 ERA)
- Orioles: Spenser Watkins (2-2, 3.81 ERA)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles Prediction
There’s no better team to face when you’re looking to get your offense moving than the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles have one of the best parks for home run hitting and, on top of that, have some of the best pitchers for home run hitting.
The Orioles will send out Spenser Watkins for another start this season. In his last two, he’s allowed four runs in each while allowing 12 hits, three walks and just five strikeouts.
Watkins has only allowed two home runs in 26 innings but has given up 23 hits and 11 walks in those 26 innings, giving him a WHIP of 1.31.
In the last 30 days, Watkins has struggled. He’s got an xFIP of 5.86 while striking out 18.6 percent of batters. The right-hander is also walking 9.3 percent of batters, allowing a BABIP of .310 and struggling to get ground balls at just 31.1 percent.
To make things worse, Watkins has allowed a line drive percentage near 25 percent and is giving up 41 percent of hard contact in the last 30 days. Lefties have a wOBA of .347 against him in their last 44 plate appearances due to his high walks at 11.4 percent to those lefties.
The Rays always platoon their position players and will likely have six lefties in the lineup to go against the righty. As a unit, the projected lineup has an ISO of .200 and wOBA of .321. This team walks at a high rate of 9.3 percent and limits ground balls to just 41.8 percent.
Another performance where Watkins allows four or more runs in his start isn’t out of the realm.
Through the first time around an order, Watkins is allowing an average of .295 and on base percentage of .347. He actually performs better by the second time around the order.
The Rays, if they’re going to find success, will find it early against Watkins. The Rays will strikeout at times against righties but Watkins isn’t the biggest strikeout threat in the league. He’s got only 18 strikeouts in 26 innings, way below one strikeout per inning.
On the other hand, Shane McClanahan will get the start for the Rays. He’s been much better than Watkins this season and has an xFIP of 3.97 in his last 30 days. McClanahan has strikeout stuff and is striking out 27.2 percent of batters in the last 30 days as well.
Most teams will rarely have a left-handed batter come to the plate against McClanahan, but when they do, they’ve had success walking 20 percent of the time. Still, most teams would rather righties face the lefty because he gets less ground balls and gives up more line drive and hard contact.
The Orioles are a sneaky team against lefties and have a lineup that has plenty of power against lefties including Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, Ramon Urias and Pedro Severino.
Still, outside of walks, McClanahan has held his own. The Orioles should be patient and get a couple walks but finding those clutch hits to score runs could be hard against McClanahan. He’s been a bit unlucky as of late, however, so maybe there’s room for the Orioles to sneak in a couple RBI’s with runners on base.
I’m not going to go that route. Instead, I’m going to roll with the Rays, a playoff team and World Series contender. The Rays should have all lefties but three in the lineup and those righties have plenty of power against righties including Nelson Cruz, and Mike Zunino.
It’s going to be hard for Watkins to leave this game before allowing three runs in five innings. I’ll take the over 2.5 team total in the first five innings for the Rays in this one.