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Slumping Rays Look To Get On Track At Home vs Tigers

Austin Meadows and the Rays face the Tigers

The Tampa Bay Rays are 8-1 in their last nine home games against the Detroit Tigers. The Rays enter a four-game home series against the Tigers starting Thursday hoping to get back on track after a disappointing 4-5 road trip.

Detroit Tigers vs Tampa Bay Rays
  • Date/Time: September 16, 7:10 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Tropicana Field
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Rays -191 | O/U 9 (Line History)
  • Tigers vs Rays Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Rays opened as -191 favorites in this series opener and have since been bet up to Tampa Bay -210. Detroit is going off at +190 and the total has settled in at 8.5 runs after originally opening at 9 runs. The OVER is 3-0-1 in the last four games between the Rays and Tigers.

Starting Pitchers Analysis   

Tyler Alexander pitched 4.1 innings and allowed only one earned run in a 10-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday. Alexander has pitched in 37 games this season with 11 starts and 26 bullpen appearances. The left-hander carries a 4.09 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP into Thursday night’s game.

Louis Head has compiled a 2.67 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP across 23 games and 30.1 innings pitched this season. Head will be making his second start of the season on Thursday, but isn’t expected to go more than an inning or two as the game’s opener. In his last start as an opener, Head allowed three hits and two earned runs in one inning of work against the Baltimore Orioles.

Detroit News & Notes

Catcher Dustin Garneau hit a home run and Matt Manning pitched well in Detroit’s 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night. The Tigers have compiled a 5-1 record over their last six games despite playing five of them against two of the best teams in baseball, beating the Rays twice in three games and sweeping the Brewers in a two-game series.

Detroit is 70-76 this season and is clearly trending in the right direction after going 47-114 in 2019 and 23-35 in 2020. Miguel Cabrera had a hit and an RBI on Wednesday to bring his career hit total to 2,976. Cabrera hit his 500th career home run in August and will likely pick up his 3,000th hit early in 2022 should he return for his 20th season.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

The Rays fell to 2-5 over their last seven games after losing Wednesday’s game to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3. Prior to this recent skid, Tampa Bay was 24-7 over its previous 31 games and 17-4 over its last 21 games. The short slump hasn’t had much of an impact on the standings as the 90-56 Rays still carry an eight-game lead over the Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the AL East.

Tampa Bay is also still 4.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League. Holding on to home-field advantage through the pennant race would be a luxury, but the Rays have been so good both at home (45-26) and on the road (45-30) that it likely wouldn’t make too big a difference.

Staff Betting Pick: Detroit +190

The Rays are clearly the better team in this game. But given the recent form of these two clubs and the underwhelming pitching matchup, Thursday’s game figures to be more competitive than the betting odds suggest. We’ll take a shot on the Tigers at this price.

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Shark Bites
  • Detroit is 57-67 as an underdog this season.
  • Tampa Bay is 11-4 in its last 15 home games.
  • The UNDER is 10-3 in Detroit’s last 13 road games.