Surprising Guardians Looking to Advance
The Cleveland Guardians begin their first postseason since 2020 when they face the visiting Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of an American League Wild Card Series on Friday afternoon. Cleveland won the AL Central crown and is looking for its first postseason series win since advancing to the 2016 World Series.
Tampa Bay is in the playoffs for the fourth straight year after finishing in the final Wild Card spot in the American League. This should be a highly contested series, so to help with your bet online on the opener, read our in-depth preview of Game 1.
Rays Seek Another Deep Playoff Run
The Tampa Bay Rays have won at least one playoff series in three of their last four appearances in the postseason, including a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Guardians in 2013. They’re hoping to have that same kind of success this season, though they’ll have to do it on the road and are coming off a five-game losing streak to end the regular season.
Tampa Bay will have Shane McClanahan on the mound for the opener on Friday. McClanahan was 12-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 28 starts, striking out 194 in 166⅓ innings. He faced the Guardians once in the regular season and got rocked, going 4⅓ innings and allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking three.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena helped to carry the Rays to the 2019 World Series, and he’ll be counted on to be a force in this season’s playoffs as well. Arozarena batted .263 with team-high totals in home runs (20) and RBIs (89), adding 41 doubles, three triples and 72 runs scored.
Third baseman Yandy Diaz has been the Rays’ most consistent hitter, batting .296 to lead the team. Diaz has 33 doubles, nine home runs, 57 RBIs and 71 runs and will be looking to make his mark against the team with which he spent the first two seasons of his major league career.
Guardians Roll into Playoffs
The Cleveland Guardians come into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in baseball, having gone 24-6 since Sept. 5. A very young squad, the Guardians will be looking to veterans like third baseman Jose Ramirez to lead the way in the playoffs, just as he did in the regular-season finale with four hits and two RBIs.
“He’s the heart and soul of the team and everyone would tell you that same thing,” Cleveland pitcher Aaron Civale said of Ramirez after Wednesday’s win. “There’s a lot of pieces involved, but he is that supreme piece. It’s extremely fun to watch. It’s great that we get to do it from the same dugout and not across the way.”
Ramirez was 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored in Wednesday’s victory. He batted .280 with 44 doubles, five triples, 29 home runs, 126 RBIs (third in baseball) and 90 runs scored.
Right-hander Shane Bieber will get the opening-game start for the Guardians. Bieber went 13-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 31 starts, striking out 198 in 200 innings. Bieber faced the Tampa Bay Rays twice in 2022, going 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA over 13 innings, striking out 14 and walking two.
Rays vs Guardians Head-To-Head
The Cleveland Guardians had the edge over the Tampa Bay Rays in the season series in 2022, winning four of the six matchups and going 2-1 in each series. It was a stark turnaround from the previous two seasons, with Tampa Bay winning those season series by 6-1 counts each time.
The Rays have had success in Cleveland in the recent past, going 10-4 at Progressive Field since the start of the 2017 campaign.The MLB lines for the first game of this series are giving a slight edge to the Guardians to open with a win.
Rays vs Guardians Game Injuries
Rays vs Guardians Game Information
- Game: Rays (86-76) vs Guardians (92-70)
- Location: Progressive Field
- Day/Time: Friday, Oct. 7, 12:07 p.m. ET
- Rays vs Guardians Live stream: MLB.tv
Rays vs Guardians Betting Lines
|Tampa Bay Rays
S. McClanahan -L
S. Bieber -R
The odds in this chart are based on the time of publication. They are subject to change.
Rays vs Guardians Prediction
The Tampa Bay Rays have the experience edge in the postseason, but the Cleveland Guardians have been the hotter team of late. Look for a tight matchup but the Guardians will come out on top to open the postseason
When doing your MLB betting, take Cleveland to win at home.