Tampa Bay Rays vs. Atlanta Braves
Second place in the A.L. East standings meets first place in the N.L. East standings as the Tampa Bay Rays host the Atlanta Braves on Friday. The Rays are -125 favorites over the Braves with an over/under run line set at 7.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been playing solid baseball this season and despite missing their best player. Evan Longoria, with an injury they have proved to be a tough team to beat. The Rays are 5-5 in their last 10 games, 14-4 at home this season, and just a game back in the A.L. East standings. As a team the Rays are hitting .248 with Matt Joyce hitting .283, Desmond Jennings hitting .265, and Sean Rodriguez hitting .248. As a team the Rays pitching staff has an ERA of 3.66 with the starters at 3.55 and the bullpen at 3.89. For game one against the Braves Tampa Bay starts James Shields who has lost just once all year. For the season Shields has allowed 50 hits and 21 earned runs while striking out 48 over 53.2 innings of work for a 3.52 ERA.
The Atlanta Braves have been red hot and despite folding at the end of last season it looks to be in the distance in the rear view mirror. The Braves are 6-4 in their last 10 games, 14-8 on the road this season, and they have a half of a game lead in the National League East. As a team the Braves are hitting .270 with Michael Bourn hitting .339, Martin Prado hitting .319, and Dan Uggla hitting .277. As a team the Braves pitching staff has an ERA of 4.20 with the starters at 4.41 and the bullpen at 3.82. For game one at Tropicana Field the Braves start Tommy Hanson who has won three of his last four decisions. For the season Hanson has allowed 44 hits and 17 earned runs while striking out 43 over 44.2 innings of work for a 3.43 ERA.
Tampa Bay is 4-1 in their last five games overall, 24-8 in their last 32 home games against a right handed starter, and 7-1 in Shields’ last eight starts. Atlanta is 4-0 in their last four games as an underdog, 7-1 in their last eight games against the A.L. East, and 11-3 in Hanson’s last 14 road starts. Atlanta is 5-2 in the last seven meetings of these two.
The total in this one is set at seven and that’s just a bit too low as this one goes over.