The Tampa Bay Rays kept it rolling with another win over a divisional rival in game one of their three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The second-place O’s will look to answer back in game two on Tuesday night, with first pitch from Camden Yards set for 6:35 p.m. ET. Zach Eflin (4-0, 2.25 ERA) looks to continue his hot start for Tampa, while rookie Grayson Rodriguez (1-0, 5.46) goes for Baltimore.
The Rays are listed as -135 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Orioles are +115 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.
Rays-Orioles picks: Tuesday, May 8
Day to day: INF Ramon Urias (knee)
Out: RP Dillon Tate (elbow), RP Mychal Givens (knee)
Out: SP Tyler Glasnow (oblique), RP Pete Fairbanks (forearm), RP Garrett Cleavinger (knee)
Zach Eflin vs. Grayson Rodriguez
Eflin has been great in his first season with the Rays, allowing three or fewer runs while going at least five innings in each of his starts — punctuated by 10 Ks over seven shutout frames last time out against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The righty doesn’t throw too hard, but he uses his sinker/cutter combination to produce a 58.1% ground ball rate that ranks among the highest in the league. Not walking anyone and keeping the ball on the ground is a good recipe for success.
Arguably the top pitching prospect in all of baseball entering the year, Rodriguez has had an up-and-down introduction the Majors. He closed April with 10 shutout innings over two starts against the Detroit Tigers, then was roughed up last time out to the tune of six runs on eight hits in just 3.2 innings against the Kansas City Royals. The righty boasts among the deepest arsenals you’ll find, with a legit chance at four plus pitches, but if he keeps leaving them over the heart of the plate it’s not going to matter too much.
Monday’s game ended with a 3-0 final, but I’m expecting more runs on Tuesday given Rodriguez’s penchant for getting hit hard (12th percentile in hard-hit rate). This O’s team is better than they showed yesterday — they should have Cedric Mullins back today, for starters — and we should only need a little help from Baltimore to hit this over.
Pick: Over 8
It feels like the Rays should be even heavier favorites given how reliable Eflin’s been and how dangerous this Tampa offense could be if Rodriguez doesn’t get his command sorted out. The rookie just isn’t trustworthy right now, so give me baseball’s best team to pull out another win.