It's a rematch of a World Series of just a few seasons ago
as the Tampa Bay Rays hit Philly for three games with the Phillies. Can Tampa
extract a small measure of revenge for that Series loss?
Rays vs. Phillies series
Note: Friday's game was rained out. The Rays have chosen to stick with Friday's starter James Shields, replacing scheduled Saturday starter Alex Cobb, while the Phils are going with their scheduled starter Kyle Kendrick instead of Cliff Lee, who was penciled in as Friday's starter.
Tampa just dropped two of three games in Washington, and has
now lost six of its last nine games.
On the other side of this matchup the Phillies just took two
of three games from the Rockies, missing out on the sweep by losing 4-1
Thursday. Still, Philly has lost four of its last six series and 13 of its last
So the Rays, at 38-31, are in third place in the AL East,
3.5 games back now of the division-leading Yankees, while the Phillies, the
heavy favorites pre-season to win the NL East for the sixth-straight year, now
sit at 33-38 and in last place in the NL East standings, nine games behind first-place
Saturday's pitching matchup
James Shields (7-4, 3.72) hits the hill for Tampa Saturday against Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 5.29) for Philly.
Shields is seven-for-14 on quality starts this season, and the Rays have won nine of his 14 outings. He had a couple of rough starts a couple weeks ago against the White Sox and Yankees, but has come back in his last two outings, both against the Marlins, to allow just one earned run in his last 14 innings.
On the season, Shields has given up 93 hits and walked 30 in 92 innings, with 86 strikeouts.
Kendrick is only four-for-ten on quality starts this season, and 0-for-three over his last three, giving up 16 ER on 20 hits in his last 16 innings. Not coincidentally the Phillies lost those three games.
For the season, Kendrick has given up 74 hits and walked 23 in 63 innings.
MLB pick for Saturday
We don't like Kendrick's recent performances. So we'll add the Rays to our list of free MLB picks for Saturday.
Friday's pitching matchup
James Shields (7-4, 3.72) gets the call to start this series
opener for Tampa against Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48) for the Phillies.
Meanwhile the still-winless Lee (0-3, 3.48) is six-for-11 on
quality starts, although he's 0-for-two his last two, getting roughed up for
nine runs on 19 hits in 13 innings vs. the Orioles and Jays. But on the season
Lee has still allowed fewer hits than innings pitched (73 in 78) and owns a
K/BB ratio of 77/14.
Philly is just 3-8 in Lee's starts this year, but they've
lost twice by a score of 2-1 and once by 1-0.
Tampa has had problems against left-handed pitching this
year. While the Rays are seven games above .500 overall they're just 9-14 vs.
Rays vs. Phillies:
Friday's betting lines
In perusing the baseball betting odds pages the best price
we found on Philly was the -132 at Matchbook, while the best price on Tampa was
the +128 offered at BetOnline.
The Phillies can also be gotten at +165 on the run line at
And most outlets are listing the 'over/under' on Friday's
game at 7.5.
Early betting action on Friday's game has leaned 55-45
percent toward Philly, 51-49 percent toward the 'over.'
Finally, Bovada is chalking Philly at -140 to win this
series, with the Rays getting +110 as the underdogs.
MLB Pick for Friday
Neither team comes into this series playing great ball, but
it should still be a good series. For Friday's game we've been fans of Shields
for a while but we also figure Lee is going to get a win sooner or later. So
we'll go with the Phillies for our free MLB pick.