Two of the best teams in baseball will face off in the first of a three-game series Friday as the Los Angeles Dodgers (31-20) take on the Tampa Bay Rays (37-15). The Rays will host this one at Tropicana Field, with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 pm ET.
The Rays are slight favorites playing at home. They are -110 to win, while the Dodgers’ moneyline sits at -106. The runline features Tampa Bay +1.5 (-176), and the over/under for total runs is 9.5.
Dodgers Look To Stay Above .500 On The Road
At 31-20, the Dodgers sit in first place in the NL West and have the second-best record in the National League. Still, as they try to widen their divisional lead, they hope to play better on the road. While they are 17-7 at Dodger Stadium, they are just 14-13 on the road.
Taking the mound for Friday’s opener is veteran Noah Syndergaard. The 30-year-old has pitched in nine games, going 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and he has struck out 30 in 41.1 innings. In his last start he allowed three earned runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals.
Offensively, the Dodgers rank third in the majors in scoring, averaging 5.47 runs per game. Leading the offense in the power department is Max Muncy, who has a team-leading 15 home runs and 35 runs batted in.
Mookie Betts (11 HR, 30 RBI, 37 R), Freddie Freeman (9 HR, 31 RBI, 42 R), and J.D. Martinez (9 HR, 30 RBI, 20 R) have also had strong starts to the campaign.
Rays Out To Prove They Are The Best In MLB
Not only have the Rays gotten off to an exceptional start this year, they have the best record in all of baseball at 37-15. Even more remarkable is that they are a whopping 24-5 when playing at Tropicana Field. Trying to prove they are the best in the majors, the Rays will look to continue their dominance as they host the Dodgers on Friday.
Tampa Bay has been strong on both offense and defense. In terms of pitching, they rank fifth in staff ERA at 3.70 (3.26 at home). Offensively, they rank second in the majors, averaging 5.96 runs per game.
Randy Arozarena has been lights out this far. In 180 at bats, he is hitting .311/.415/.544 with 11 home runs, 39 runs batted in, 34 runs scored, and six stolen bases.
He isn’t the only one producing, though. Yandy Diaz and Josh Lowe also have 11 home runs apiece, while Luke Raley has 10 home runs in 113 at bats.
Lefty Jalen Beeks will take the mound for the Rays on Friday. In 18 games, he is 1-2 with a 4.68 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and he has 22 strikeouts in 25 innings. Serving as an opener, he has given up just one earned run in his last five innings over three games.
Take The Rays To Win At Home
The Dodgers are 12-6 in their last 18 games, and they are 8-2 in their last 10 intraleague games. Against the Rays, they are 4-2 in their last six games (stemming from previous seasons).
As for Tampa Bay, they are 13-4 in their last 17 intraleague games and 5-2 in their last seven games overall. In 8 of the last 10 games against the Dodgers, the OVER has hit. The OVER has also hit in all five of Tampa Bay’s last home games.
It is already tough to bet against the Rays this season, but it is almost impossible to do so when they are playing at home. Between their home-field advantage and the fact that Noah Syndergaard has not been overly dominant thus far, take the Rays to win this one straight up at home (-110).