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The Tampa Bay Rays will face off against the Texas Rangers for the first of a three-game series at Globe Life Field on Monday. This series will showcase two of the best teams in the American League. Despite leading their respective divisions, both clubs have a narrow advantage they need to defend. This makes every game in this series a must-win matchup. The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 8:05 p.m. ET and will be streamed nationally on ESPN+.
Tampa Bay has struggled thus far in July only winning three of their ten games in the month. They have managed to win their last two games against the Royals and one against the Braves which marked a three-game winning streak. The Rays are expected to start left-handed stand-out pitcher Shane McClanahan, who has been just shy of perfect. He will be making his eighteenth start of the regular season on Monday.
Texas will bring a 5-11 July record into this matchup with the heavy-hitting Rays. The Rangers
are coming off a couple of impressive wins over the Guardians to enter this series. The question is if this momentum can carry into the first week of full games post All-Star break. Texas is expected to start right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning, who has shown that he can get it done on the bump this season.
Dunning will be making his 13th start of the regular season. Both of these pitchers are very highly respected and there’s no denying the possibility of a low-scoring pitching duel on Monday night. With the combined pitcher record of 19-3, and the success these clubs have seen with the bats, we definitely are calling this a can’t miss game.
Monday is McClanahan day for the Rays, the 18th time he takes the mound in 2023. He is 11-1 with an impressive 2.53 ERA and 101 strikeouts over 96 innings of work. The left-hander’s last start was against the Mariners on June 30th, where he had one of his least impressive games this season, giving up four runs in just 3.2 innings. Just two days after that start, McClanahan landed on the 15-day IL with back tightness.
Dunning will make his 13th start of the regular season. He is 8-2 with a 2.84 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched. Like McClanahan, Dunning’s last start was his worst of the season. He allowed 5.2 earned runs which gave him and his team the loss on July 9 against the Nationals.
There is no denying the impressive season the Rays have put together. However, with McClanahan having a tough time in his last two starts, and coming off the IL in a heavily contested away matchup, this is a good spot for the Rangers to make a statement. We see this game turning into a low-scoring affair, so the under isn’t a bad look as well.
It’s hard to talk about the Rays without mentioning the incredible unbeaten streak they had to start this season, but this has come and gone. As of right now, Tampa Bay has a narrow lead over the Orioles in the AL East. This division has been the most highly contested in all of
baseball as every team is above .500. The Rays have managed to stay at the top all season long, but time may be running out.
Tampa Bay has witnessed their fair share of pitching issues this season from losing Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs to season-ending injuries, to rare bullpen collapses. Regardless, even if the pitchers struggle, the batters seem to get it done to pick up the slack. This has made Tampa Bay quite difficult to take down all season.
The Rays' pitching comes in with a 3.65 team ERA, which is second in the league. The bullpen has been manageable for Tampa Bay as they have 26 saves which is 13th in the league. Tampa Bay’s batting average is also seventh in the league at .259.
Texas leads the AL West by three games over the Houston Astros. This division has been more contested than expected, and the Rangers have surprised the masses. They’ve managed to keep the runs coming in as they lead the league with 523 RBIs over the Atlanta Braves who have just 494. They also lead baseball in team batting average at .275.
The bats have been great all season for the Rangers, while the pitching hasn’t been nearly as impressive. Texas is 11th in the league with a 3.97 team ERA. The bullpen for Texas is also at the bottom as they are 27th in the league with 17 saves. As long as the Rangers can keep the bats hot, they will be relevant in any and every game this season.
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Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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