MLB Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Aug. 27, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Where to watch: Bally Sports Sun, MASN 2

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Rays -240, Orioles +195
BetMGM: NL
FanDuel: NL

Season record (entering Thursday)
Rays: 79-48 (1st place, AL East)
Orioles: 39-86 (Last place, AL East)

Frank Sawyer is on an 8-of-10 MLB Game of the Month/Year run after delivering his 25-star MLB Tuesday ESPN Game of the year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Frank is on a 24-of-33 All-Sports run, and now 17-of-23 with MLB. Check out Frank’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Rays - Orioles preview and analysis


Recent form (entering Thursday)
Rays: 8-2 in last 10, won 4 straight
Orioles: Lost 19 of 20

Not since the days of the great Cal Ripken Jr. has the city of Baltimore celebrated such a monumental, historic moment in the sporting world.

The Baltimore Orioles won a game Wednesday night. Mild parades were held in the streets, cups of tea were had, zen was created across the streets of Baltimore. Or everyone just didn’t care because that losing streak could’ve gone on forever.

Next up for the Orioles, following their three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, just happens to be the best team in the American League. The Tampa Bay Rays are traveling to Baltimore following a clutch series road win against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Game 1 of the series is Friday.

The Orioles won for the first time since Aug. 2, a 7-1 victory at Yankee Stadium, against the New York Yankees. Baltimore went on to lose the next two of that series by a combined score of 23-4, and everything went downhill from there. They allowed a grand total of 165 runs during this losing streak and gave up double-digit runs in seven of those games.

It took a five-run eighth inning to come back and beat the Angels. Despite Baltimore getting the best of Shohei Ohtani, both on the mound (5 IP, 4 ER, 7 K) and the plate (0-for-4, three strikeouts), the Angels carried a 6-5 lead into the eighth (they once led 6-2). Cedric Mullins, the team’s offensive superstar, had two RBI in the inning alone and added a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first to cap off a 2-for-4 day.

DJ Stewart hit a two-run homer, and Austin Hays delivered a two-run, pinch-hit double in the eighth inning for the much-needed insurance runs.

It was a wonderful night for the Orioles. It may not happen again, but this can be framed in an 8x10 inside Camden Yards as something they’ll never forget.

The good feelings may come crashing down with the Rays coming to town. The Rays enter this series on a four-game winning streak following a two-game sweep of the Phillies on the road.

Tampa Bay catcher Francisco Mejia crushed a three-run homer to right field in the top of the ninth to break the tie, and the Rays left Citizens Bank Park with a 7-4 win. Brandon Lowe delivered with his 30th homer of the season, and rookie sensation Wander Franco kept up his sensational season by going 3-for-5.

More importantly, the Rays gained a half-game on the New York Yankees in the American League East, now leading by 4.5 games. New York, who just got two huge wins in Atlanta, start a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics in the Oakland Coliseum on Thursday. The A’s are also trying to rebound after a two-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.;

Prediction


For as much of a standing ovation as the Orioles deserve, the Rays are rolling right now. With a day off after what could be considered a big-time sweep (whilst not forgetting winning two of three over the Chicago White Sox last weekend), Tampa is rolling right now and they don’t seem to be slowing up any time soon. Rays win 7-2.

Betting trends


The over has cashed in the Rays' last six Friday games, as well as the last six meetings in Baltimore.

Tampa Bay has won six of its last seven following a day off. The Rays have also won five of their last six series openers; the lone loss was to the White Sox.

Baltimore has lost its last five games against a left-handed starter.

Key injuries
None

Players to watch


Rays: I don’t know if Wander Franco has played enough games to be in AL Rookie of the Year consideration, but his 26-game on-base streak has been incredible. In that time, he’s batting .325 with 20 RBI. He’s been walked nine times and hit by a pitch twice. This is the longest streak by a player 20 years old or younger since Frank Robinson did it in 43 games in 1956.

Orioles: No one may have suffered more during the O’s losing streak than Cedric Mullins. Baltimore’s top hitter hit .234 during the losing streak, dropping his average to .307. Mullins bounced back with the 2-for-4 day on Wednesday, so hopefully, this is a sign for him to turn it around.

Projected lineup


Rays:
Brandon Lowe (L) 2B
Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
Wander Franco (S) SS
Austin Meadows (L) DH
Randy Arozarena (R) LF
Joey Wendle (L) 3B
Brett Phillips (L) RF
Francisco Mejia (S) C
Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF

Orioles:
Cedric Mullins (L) CF
Ryan Mountcastle (R) DH
Trey Mancini (R) 1B
Anthony Santander (S) RF
DJ Stewart (L) LF
Ramon Urias (R) SS
Jahmai Jones (R) 2B
Kelvin Gutierrez (R) 3B
Austin Wynns (R) C

Probable starting pitchers: Shane McClanahan (TB) vs. TBD

Statistical leaders


Rays:
Batting average: Randy Arozarena (.272)
Hits: Randy Arozarena (116)
Home runs: Brandon Lowe (30)
RBI: Austin Meadows (88)
Stolen bases: Randy Arozarena & Manuel Margot (11)
Wins: Josh Fleming (10)
Saves: Diego Castillo (14)
ERA: Ryan Yarbrough (4.57)

Orioles:
Batting average: Cedric Mullins (.307)
Hits: Cedric Mullins (145)
Home runs: Ryan Mountcastle (23)
RBI: Ryan Mountcastle (67)
Stolen bases: Cedric Mullins (22)
Wins: Matt Harvey (6)
Saves: Cesar Valdez (8)
ERA: N/A

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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