Aug. 13 MLB Preview — Tampa Bay Rays (70-50) at San Diego Padres (55-63)

(Manny Machado photo courtesy Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Tuesday, Aug. 13, Petco Park, San Diego, Calif., 10:10 p.m. EDT.

In a very small sample size, Tampa Bay rookie Brendan McKay appears to prefer pitching on the road. He will look to continue his success outside the Sunshine State on Tuesday night when the Rays go for a franchise-record ninth consecutive road victory in the middle game of their series with the San Diego Padres.

McKay set for first interleague start

McKay (2-2, 4.55 ERA) has had the expected ups and downs that come with a rookie through his first six starts, giving up three or more runs in four of them and not allowing a run in the other two.

The left-hander has shown flashes on the road, going 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in two starts with 14 strikeouts in 10 1-3 innings. McKay, though, has been penalized for his mistakes in losing two of his three starts. He gave up a pair of solo homers — five in his last three starts — and three runs overall in five-plus innings of a 4-3 loss Wednesday to Toronto, overshadowing the fact he poured the ball into the strike zone with 69 strikes on his 93 offerings.

“[The start] had a lot of great promise to it,” he told the Rays’ official website. “I started off feeling good. Commanding the zone. At times I got away from it. That’s when guys put good swings on balls. I was on the defensive mode and they were in attack mode. Missed some locations here and there, and they made me pay for it.”

Tampa Bay tied a club record with its eighth straight road win with Monday night’s 10-4 victory, the fourth time it has put together a run this long and the first time since July 4-23, 2014.

McKay, who is making his first start against an NL opponent, has lasted at least five innings in all but one of his six starts.

Lauer looking for consistency after shaky outing versus Rockies

Eric Lauer (6-8, 4.51) makes his second attempt for a career-best seventh win after being rebuffed last time out. The second-year left-hander did well to limit the damage he created after giving up a season-high-tying 10 hits, but only three runs, in four-plus innings against Colorado on Thursday.

Lauer is 1-1 with a 6.87 ERA in four starts and five overall appearances since the All-Star break and has pitched into the fifth just once in those starts. One of his best outings of the season came in his lone interleague start, beating the Yankees on May 28 after conceding a solo homer and three other hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 victory.

The southpaw has been solid at Petco Park, splitting six decisions and recording a 2.96 ERA in 10 starts.

Notable Trends

The Padres are:

  • 1-4 in their last five Tuesday games.
  • 2-5 in Lauer’s last seven starts on four days of rest.
  • 18-43 in their last 61 games vs. left-handed starters.

The Rays are:

  • 6-1 in their last seven games vs. starters with a plus-1.30 WHIP.
  • 12-4 in their last 16 games vs. NL West teams.
  • 23-7 in their last 30 road games vs. teams with a sub-.500 home record.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Rays OVER 4 runs (-110)

While Lauer is tough at home, Tampa Bay’s road run is too good to ignore, especially on the offensive side. The Rays have scored five or more runs in all but one of those eight road victories and hitting .297 with 15 home runs in that stretch.

Monday’s loss also marked the ninth time in 15 games the Padres have allowed four or more runs to AL opponents.

****4-Star Pick****

Rays ML (-125)

The belief is that McKay will get enough help from his offense. The Rays, who have won 13 of their last 16 overall, have averaged 6.75 runs during their road winning streak and backed their starters with 6.81 runs of support.

Lauer appears to be hitting a wall of sorts as he nears his innings total from his rookie season. The Padres lefty has struggled against everyone not named the Los Angeles Dodgers in the past month, and the Rays are hot enough to extend those woes.

***3-Star Picks***

OVER 8 runs (-115)

This is a case of the number being too low as opposed to being overly against either pitcher. The over is 7-1 in San Diego’s last eight home games and 5-0 in its last five interleague home games versus left-handed starters.

The over is also strongly trending on Tampa Bay’s side, including 8-2-1 in the last 11 against lefties and on a six-game run in the second game of a series involving the Rays. The over also improved to 6-2-1 in the last nine games between the teams with Monday’s result.

Rays -0.5 runs first 5 innings (+111)

Despite Lauer being tough at home, the Padres are only 3-5-2 at the midway point in his 10 starts at Petco Park. Tampa Bay is 3-3 after five innings in McKay’s six starts but also 5-1 on the road in National League parks.

The Rays are 4-3-1 during their road winning streak, and the chance to get plus-money on a red-hot team is worth a play.

OVER 4.5 runs first 5 innings (Even)

Tampa Bay’s offense plays into taking the over, but this is also another case where the number feels too low. The five-inning over is 6-3 in San Diego’s last nine games when the number is 4.5 runs or fewer and 5-2-1 in Tampa Bay’s last eight at that number.

The over is also 6-2 in San Diego’s last eight home games and improved to 7-2 in Tampa Bay’s last nine on the road with Monday night’s narrow win.

OVER 2.5 runs first 3 innings (Even)

The teams combined for five runs in the first three frames Monday night, continuing a trend of both teams clearing this number. Rays games have cleared 2.5 runs in six of their last eight on the road and in six of nine overall. The Padres have topped 2.5 runs in five of their last eight at home and also have plated two or more runs themselves in five of their last eight overall.

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