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Free Baseball Predictions: Detroit Tigers v Tampa Bay Rays Preview

Tigers vs Rays MLB Betting + Handicapping Picks

Fresh off a three-game series in Texas, the Detroit Tigers continue their road swing with a trip to the Sunshine State to take on the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

The Tigers arrive at Tropicana Field after losing two straight including a 13-9 drubbing on Wednesday night in Arlington, while the Rays dropped their third straight after being swept at Kansas City.

DET: Max Scherzer (6-5, 5.12) vs. TAM: James Shields (7-4, 3.99)
Date/Time: Thursday, June 28 – 7:10 PM EST
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Broadcast: FOX Sports (Detroit), Sun (Tampa Bay)
LINE: 122, -130
TOTAL: 8

Matchup | Preview

Despite losing to the Rangers in the series finale, things weren’t as bad as they appeared in the run column.

Alex Avila led the Tigers’ 17-hit parade, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, while both Jhonny Peralta and Berry Quintin pitched in with three hits of their own.

If not for a couple of fielding errors, and another poor outing from starting pitcher Doug Fister (1-5), who hasn’t won on the road in six starts this season, the third place Tigers had enough offense to win this one.

Things don’t look much better for Detroit (36-39) in the team’s opener in Tampa however, as they will send five-games loser, including 4-1 defeat to the Pirates his last time out, Max Scherzer to the mound.

The 27-year old right-hander who recently returned after two days due to personal leave, gave up three runs on three hits, including a three-run home run to Andrew McCutchen, over six innings of work in Pittsburgh.

He will get the added benefit however of the Rays’ 4th worst batting average and 7th worst slugging percentage in the majors, which reared its ugly head once again in a 5-4 loss to the Royals on Wednesday.  

GTBets

As a team, the Rays (40-35) went 9-for-32 in the game, but were led by Ben Zobrist who was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Nevertheless, Zobrist made three outs on the bases, including being thrown out twice at home plate trying to score from third on ground balls.

As bad as things have been at the plate for the Rays, pitching still has them fighting it out for third place in the AL East, and not in dead last behind an hopeless Toronto team.

They will no doubt want to win the pitching battle, and will try to gain the upper hand by going with veteran righty James Shield, who in spite of getting spotted an early 3-0 lead on Saturday in Philadelphia, was unable to hold on to that lead, as he gave it back and then some by the fourth inning with a pair of home runs.

The 30-year old Shields was lifted in the fifth, facing a 5-3 deficit on seven hits and one walk.

Shields enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, but has been much closer to his career norms so far this season.

This will be his second start against the Tigers. He limited Detroit to just two runs in eight innings the last time he saw them, so he will hope history will repeat itself.

Matt’s Free Prediction: Rays- The Rays are 21-15 at home, while Detroit is 19-21 away from Comerica Park. I expect the Rays will get a good showing from Shields as he bounces back, and if they can find a way to supply just a little run support, I expect them to take this one.

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