Tampa Bay Rays AT Seattle Mariners
June 2nd, 2011 at 10:10 PM EST
Opening Moneyline: SEA -130, TAM +110
Current Moneyline: SEA -120, TAM +100
Opening Total: 6.5
Current Total: 6.5
SP: TAM- James Shields; SEA- Felix Hernandez
Seattle has been winning a lot, but not by a lot…Their pitching has picked up and they expect more of the same when they send staff ace Felix Hernandez to the mound tonight.
The Mariners are now 1 game over .500 thanks to winning 12 of their last 16 games while the starting pitchers have compiled a 2.20 ERA and the bullpen has been even more impressive with a 0.88 ERA. In games decided by one run, the Mariners are 13-10 this season.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge realizes the importance of being able to win tight games. “Every game we are playing is tight,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Our starters have done a great job, bullpen has done a great job. Every now and again you’re going to get snake-bit, but I can’t say enough about the job they are doing.”
Felix Hernandez has been good this year, with a 5-4 record and a 3.19 ERA, but he’s been great at home where he is 2-0 a 1.42 ERA, in six starts — all of which were Seattle victories. He’s not pitching at the level he was last year when he won the Cy Young last year with a 2.27 ERA. Even Baseball Prospectus predicted a fall off, with a PECOTA projection of 2.64 for the season. That number is still attainable and within reach, especially if Hernandez continues to punish opponents at home.
“I just want to throw a close game because I know the guys are going to score,” Hernandez told the team’s official website. “We’re over .500 and that’s awesome. We’re together, we’re doing a great job and we’re picking each other up.”
James Shields of Tampa Bay has been now slouch either, though, as he is tied with Hernandez for the AL lead in strikeouts with 81. His ERA is even better than Hernandez’ at 2.15, and he has won 5 of his 8 decisions. Over his last 23 innings and 3 starts, he has recorded a 2.35 ERA and 30 Ks, but only won 1 of the 3 decisions due to the fact that Tampa produced an average of 2.33 runs per game in those starts. He got off to a rough start Saturday, giving up 3 runs in the first 2 innings, but he turned around to shut the Indians down for the next five innings, as he picked up a quality start, despite recording a loss.
Shields expects a tough pitchers duel tonight in a game with a low total set of 6.5. “I’ve faced him a bunch of times in the past, and it’s kind of a battle,” Shields told the Rays’ official website. “He is pitching really, really well right now, and I’m going to go out there and pitch my game.”
Some betting trends:
Tampa bay is 4-8 SU in their last 12 games and the Rays are 12-6 SU in their last 18 on the road. The Rays are 1-5 SU in their last 6 on the road and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of their last 6 against the Seattle Mariners. Tampa Bay is 4-1 SU in their last 5 against the Mariners and the Rays are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games on the road in Seattle. The total has gone OVER In 4 of Tampa Bay’s last 6 games on the road in Seattle.
Seattle is 11-3 SU in their last 14 games and the Mariners are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games at home. The total has gone UNDER in 5 of their last 6 games against the Rays and the Mariners are 1-4 SU in their last 5 against the Rays. The total has gone OVER In 4 of the Mariners’ last 6 games at home against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Mariners are 1-4 SU in their last 5 at home against Tampa Bay.
Tonight’s game should be pretty low scoring, which makes both betting the total or the moneyline a risky proposition with such a slim margin for error. Both Hernandez and Shields are top notch pitchers and one of them may even record a shutout.