The Oakland Athletics look to start a new winning streak on Monday night when they visit the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a four-game series. The game is scheduled for a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Oakland had its 13-game winning streak snapped on Sunday by Baltimore, falling 8-1. Despite the long string of wins, the Athletics only lead Seattle by one game for the top spot in the American League West standings.
Tampa Bay has dropped three of its last four, including a 1-0 loss to division rival Toronto on Sunday. The Rays are second in the AL East standings, 2½ games behind first-place Boston and only a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays.
The MLB odds for this one have the Athletics with a moneyline of -107, while the Rays are -103. The over/under for the contest has been set at 8½ runs.
Looking to Continue
Oakland came out of nowhere with its winning streak, starting the season at 1-6, but now it wants to make sure it keeps on winning. The Athletics will send left-hander Sean Manea to the mound for the series opener.
Manea is coming off a complete-game shutout of Minnesota, though it was a seven-inning contest as part of a doubleheader. He allowed just six hits while striking out seven and walking one. Manea improved to 2-1 while lowering his ERA to 3.04.
First baseman Matt Olson has been leading the way offensively, hitting six home runs and batting .319. He also has four doubles and 17 RBIs, which ties for the team lead.
Second baseman Jed Lowrie also has 17 RBIs and is batting .293. Lowrie has six doubles, three home runs and has scored 13 times. Left fielder Mark Canha leads the teams in runs scored with 23 and has an on-base percentage of .406, thanks in part to drawing 14 walks.
Needing to Bounce Back
Tampa Bay had a five-game winning streak before its recent slump left it at .500. With just four games separating first and fifth place in the AL East, the Rays can’t afford a prolonged losing streak.
Veteran Rich Hill will get the start for this one, though he hasn’t exactly been a stopper. Hill is 1-0 but with an 8.82 ERA, and his latest start was a disaster. He went just two innings and gave up four hits and four runs. The 41-year-old has allowed four runs in each of his four starts.
Unfortunately, the Rays’ bullpen had to work on Sunday, with Luis Patino lasting just 2 2/3 innings in his first start of the season. Hill did go six innings in his only win against the New York Yankees on April 9, so the potential is there.
After getting shut out on Sunday, the Rays’ batters will be looking for a little redemption. Third baseman Joey Wendle has been the most consistent hitter for Tampa Bay, hitting .324 with seven doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs.
Oakland Gets Road Win
The Athletics have been playing extremely well over the last couple of weeks, so one loss isn’t going to change that. Oakland is also facing a pitcher that is struggling to keep opponents off the scoreboard, which is always a plus.
Tampa Bay is going to have trouble against Manea, who is pitching very well. Look for the Athletics to get off to a good start in the series in this one.
When making your MLB picks, go with the visiting Athletics to get the win.
Pick: Oakland Athletics -107