The Rays took the first of three from the Rangers in a battle of the two best teams in the American League.
Saturday will be another big test for each team, but possibly more for the Rangers, who will start AL Cy Young candidate Nathan Eovaldi against the best lineup in baseball in the Rays. Can the Rangers right hander get the team a win in what could be a postseason preview?
Here are the odds for Saturday’s matchup from Tampa Bay:
Rangers vs. Rays odds, run line and total
Rangers vs. Rays prediction and pick
These are the two best lineups in baseball. Both are hitting at a crazy level in the short term, each team over .290 over the last 15 days, and over the course of the season the two have been the two most potent, rating as the top two by a wide margin in wRC+ and on-base percentage.
However, I’m going to give a decisive edge to Eovaldi over rookie Taj Bradley. The former Red Sox pitcher has allowed four earned runs in his last five starts, including a complete game one run effort against the Pirates. While Tampa Bay is the best lineup metrics wise, Eovaldi has been on the mark all season long by limiting his walks (below two per nine innings) and generating soft contact (less than seven hits per nine).
Bradley has been sharp as a rookie, striking out more than 12 batters per nine innings with a 3.60 ERA, but he hasn’t been pushed far into games as the Rays ease him into a full MLB workload. He hasn’t pitched more than five innings in seven starts, and that can play a role as both bullpens have struggled this season. Each are bottom 10 in unit ERA.
However, Eovaldi has proven he can go deep into games and the Rangers offense has been nearly as good as the Rays. I’ll take Texas in a coin flip with the pitching advantage.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.