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Rays vs. Astros Odds
Rays Odds: +110
Astros Odds: -135
Time: Tuesday, 8:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via FanDuel NJ.
The Tampa Bay Rays will head into Minute Maid Park to take on the Houston Astros for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday night.
The Rays (97-59) come into this one well in control of the AL East with an eight-game lead over the Yankees, while the Astros come in with firm control of the AL West with a five-game lead over the Seattle Mariners.
With the Astros on a four-game losing streak, should we look towards the Rays on the road in this one for betting value, or will Houston take care of business in this potential playoff preview?
Tough Year For Wacha
Michael Wacha will get the nod for the Rays in what will amount to his 22nd start of the season.
This year hasn’t been kind to Wacha. Over 114 2/3 innings, he’s compiled just a 3-5 record, 5.84 xERA and has allowed opposing batters to take him deep at an average of 1.81 HR/9.
His advanced metrics also don’t do anything to indicate there’s much positive regression in his future. He’s allowed an alarming 42.7% Hard Hit rate (per Stat Cast) and 11.1% Barrel-rate on the season, both signs that opponents have been seeing the ball extremely well against him all year.
While he’s had some better starts of late -- including two starts early this month where he allowed just three earned runs over 11 innings -- his last start saw him give up six earned runs over six innings pitched.
His matchup on Tuesday also won’t be an easy one.
He’ll take on an Astros team that has been one of the best in baseball against right-handed pitching, collectively hitting to a .336 wOBA and 116 wRC+ in such situations this year. That ranks as the fourth-best amongst all teams.
No Easy Task For Urquidy
Jose Urquidy will take the hill for the Astros in what has been a strong rookie campaign for the 26-year-old right hander.
Over 96 innings, Urquidy has compiled a 8-3 record and 3.96 FIP. He’s been relatively successful in limiting hard contact as well, allowing 35.5% to go along with a respectable 8.6% Barrel-rate and 1.31 HR/9 average.
Since returning from an injury on September 3, Astros manager Dusty Baker has been slowly but surely building up his pitch count. He was able to throw at least five innings in each of his last two starts, so he should be close to full-go in this one.
While he did allow four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings in his last start, he’s compiled a strong 3.59 FIP in his four starts this month.
The Rays will pose his toughest task to date this month, however, as they’ve also been very strong against right-handed pitching this year.
Their .324 wOBA against righties ranks as the ninth-best in all of baseball, while their 111 wRC+ against them is tied for second amongst all teams with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants.
While the Rays are currently the winningest team in the American League -- and by a wide margin -- Tuesday's game sets up in favor of the home team.
Wacha has struggled immensely this season and now gets the unenviable task of taking on a Houston team that has been one of the best in baseball against righties this season.
On the other side, Houston will throw out an impressive rookie in Urquidy, who should finally be back to a full workload after being eased in after coming back from an injury.
Houston’s recent skid is worrisome, but this is still one of the best teams in baseball. Don’t overthink this one: take the Astros at home in a strong matchup.
If the line shifts between now and the first pitch, I’d be comfortable playing this up to the -145 range.
Pick: Astros (-135)