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Picks, predictions for Pirates vs. Rays on Tuesday, May 2

Chris Landers shares their top picks on DraftKings Sportsbook for Pirates-Rays on Tuesday, May 2nd.

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco bats during an MLB game against the Chicago White Sox on April 29, 2023 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The two best records in all of baseball collide in a marquee showdown between the [checks notes] Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays? Can that be right? It may not be what anyone expected before the season started, but we should be in for plenty of fireworks as 20-9 Pittsburgh heads south for a three-game set with 23-6 Tampa. First pitch from Tropicana Field is set for 6:40 p.m. ET. Roansy Contreras (3-1, 3.58 ERA) will go for the Pirates, while Javy Guerra will open for the Rays before giving way to bulk man Josh Fleming (0-0, 3.26).

Tampa Bay enters as -165 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Pittsburgh is a +140 underdog. The run total is set at 8.5.

Pirates-Rays picks: Tuesday, May 2

Injury report


Out: RP Rob Zastryzny (elbow), RP Chase de Jong (back), RP Wil Crowe (shoulder), SS Oneil Cruz (ankle), 1B/DH Ji Man Choi (Achilles)


Out: SP Tyler Glasnow (oblique), SP Jeffrey Springs (elbow), RP Shawn Armstrong (neck), RP Andrew Kittredge (elbow)

Starting pitchers

Roansy Contreras vs. Josh Fleming

A former top prospect, Contreras has built on his promising 2022 debut with a strong start — outside of a seven-run blow-up against the Houston Astros in early April, the righty has allowed two or fewer runs while going at least 5.2 innings in each of his outings. Contreras’ fastball velocity is a concern, as it’s sat around 94 mph this year after averaging 96 last season, but his breaking balls — a slider against righties and a curve against lefties — have been so good that it hasn’t much mattered.

A classic sinker-baller, Fleming throws his nearly 50 percent of the time and has one of the league’s highest ground ball rates at 65 percent. He won’t earn many swings and misses, but with a very smart Rays defense behind him, pitching to contact has worked out well so far: The lefty has allowed just two earned runs over his last 16.1 innings pitched.

Over/Under pick

Tampa Bay’s offense has been scorching all year long, while a Pittsburgh crew led by Andrew McCutchen, Connor Joe and Co. have mashed left-handed pitching this season — with a .776 OPS against southpaws that ranks sixth in baseball. The Pirates’ last six games have cleared this total, and Tuesday should make it seven.

Pick: Over 8.5

Moneyline pick

Call me crazy, but I’m raising the Jolly Roger here. This pitching matchup doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but I give Contreras the slight edge due to his elite slider, and with favorable odds I like the Pirates’ chances to get to Fleming and outscore Tampa Bay.

Pick: Pirates