Sunday MLB Betting Preview – Rays at Marlins

Both teams may be emotionally drained after playing a crazy game in South Florida last night.

Tampa Bay Rays at Florida Marlins

Tampa Bay outlasted the Florida Marlins on Saturday night, grabbing a 9-8 victory, in a game that last four hours and 36 minutes.  “Man that was a crazy games,” Rays pitcher James Shields said.  The Rays drew a franchise-record 12 walks, with 11 coming after Marlins starter Chris Volstad left the game.  It was a huge victory for a club that had lost six of its previous eight games and is still tied with the Yankees for the division lead.  Tampa Bay will look to even up its interleague record with the series finale (5-6), as they’ve posted a 15-11 record in NL parks since 2008.  Manager Joe Maddon had to be confident in throwing Jeff Niemann and David Price in the final two games of this series, as the two have combined to go 34-10 in 68 starts since June 1, 2009.

Rays SP David Price is 10-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 13 starts this season (+380), as he leads the AL in wins (10) and ERA.  The last pitcher Price’s age or younger to be leading the league in both categories on this date was Minnesota’s Scott Erickson in 1991.  The left-hander is a solid 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA in seven road starts (+480), with the team posting five straight victories away from the Trop with him on the hill.  Price totes a perfect 5-0 mark and 2.16 ERA in five daytime starts this season, managing to strikeout 29 batters and walk just 12 in 33.1 innings.

Despite dropping Saturday’s extra-innings thriller, Florida still owns the best winning percentage among NL teams in interleague play with a 124-106 (.539) all-time record.  The Marlins bullpen combined to walk 11, including four by Jorge Sosa in a four-run Tampa Bay 11th inning, but the team fought back to plate three runs in the bottom half to fall just short.  “This team showed a lot of heart,” said 2B Dan Uggla.  “It’s a tough one to lose.”  Florida has a good chance of bouncing back, considering its ace is on the mound and the team is 13-9 against left-handed starters this season (+300).

Marlins SP Josh Johnson boasts a 7-2 record and 1.86 ERA in 14 starts this year (+240), allowing just 66 hits in 92 innings.  He didn’t earn a decision in his last start on June 15 versus Texas, allowing four hits and a single run over seven innings.  Johnson has tossed at least six innings in each of his last 12 starts, notching quality starts in each of those games.  Since 2006, the right-hander has allowed the third-fewest home runs (39) among active MLB starters, following Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Lincecum (38).  He is a brilliant 5-1 with a 1.48 ERA in nine home starts and has yet to allow a home run in 61 innings.

Playing the Tampa Bay Rays has been a solid bet over the past three years (72-53, +96) and it continues to be with the club’s 11-7 mark in 2010 (+160).  Florida is an even 10-10 this year under the sun (+50), but is a rock solid 11-5 as a home favorite of -125 to -150 (+440).

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