MLB Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 12, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 12:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
Where to watch: Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports Detroit

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Rays -150, Tigers +130
Caesars: NL

Season record (entering Saturday)
Rays: 88-53 (1st place, AL East)
Tigers: 67-75 (3rd place, AL Central)

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Rays - Tigers preview and analysis

Recent form
Rays: 5-5 in last 10
Tigers: 5-5 in last 10

What a bummer for Wander Franco to land on the IL. Hopefully he gets back soon to extend his historic on-base streak.

But for the next two weeks, the Tampa Bay Rays must weave through the woods without their top prospect. They’ll wrap up a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers and finish up the second leg of their nine-game road trip.

The Rays are coming off a 10-4 loss in the series opener on Friday, but that wasn’t their biggest loss. Franco, the 20-year-old star who extended his on-base streak to 39 games with a base hit in the first inning, left with a hamstring injury and was placed on the 10-day IL.

As for the rest of that game, the Rays’ bats did well, but didn’t do enough in the run-scoring department. Tampa Bay had 10 hits but left 11 runners on base. Detroit, meanwhile, had 11 hits but tallied three home runs. Jonathan Schoop went 2-for-5 with a grand slam for his 20th homer of the season. Victor Reyes hit a pinch-hit three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to put the game away.

It was Tampa’s bullpen that suffered the most Friday. Right-hander Michael Wacha had six strikeouts in only five innings of work, but only allowed one earned run on three hits. It was a 1-1 game when Wacha exited the game. Rays fans having flashbacks of the World Series, not knowing what manager Kevin Cash is trying to accomplish with these pitching decisions.

Luis Patino will start for the Rays in the series finale. The right-hander has won his past two decisions but is coming off allowing four earned runs in only 2.2 IP a week ago against the Minnesota Twins. Tarik Skubal, who leads the Tigers with eight wins, will get the start for Detroit.


We’ll get a clearer picture on how things look without Franco in the lineup, and if Chris Archer can stabilize this small slide Tampa is on. Look for the Rays to bounce back before they head to Toronto. Rays win 7-5.

Betting trends

The Rays are 59-30 (+12.4 net games) when favored at -110 or higher.

The Tigers are 34-34 when an underdog of +125 to +175.

Key injuries

Rays: SS Wander Franco (10-day IL, hamstring)

Tigers: SP Matthew Boyd (day-to-day, elbow)

Players to watch

Rays: Even at 41 years old, Nelson Cruz is proving to be someone Tampa Bay can rely on in the postseason. In the last 19 games, Cruz is batting .308 with six home runs and 21 RBI since Aug. 17.

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera has reached milestones and continues to be fun to watch while avoiding Father Time. He reached nine consecutive hits while going 2-for-4 on Friday, pushing his batting average to .263 entering Saturday.

Projected lineup

Brandon Lowe (L) 2B
Austin Meadows (L) LF
Nelson Cruz (R) DH
Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
Randy Arozarena (R) RF
Joey Wendle (L) 3B
Mike Zunino (R) C
Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF
Taylor Walls (S) SS

Akil Baddoo (L) CF
Jonathan Schoop (R) 1B
Robbie Grossman (S) LF
Miguel Cabrera (R) DH
Jeimer Candelario (S) 3B
Eric Haase (R) C
Niko Goodrum (S) SS
Willi Castro (S) 2B
Victor Reyes (S) RF

Probable starting pitchers: Luis Patino (TB) vs. Tarik Skubal (DET)

Statistical leaders

Batting average: Randy Arozarena (.276)
Hits: Randy Arozarena (128)
Home runs: Brandon Lowe (33)
RBI: Austin Meadows (97)
Stolen bases: Randy Arozarena (13)
Wins: Josh Fleming (10)
Saves: Andrew Kittredge (6)

Batting average: Jonathan Schoop (.281)
Hits: Jonathan Schoop (154)
Home runs: Robbie Grossman (22)
RBI: Jonathan Schoop (77)
Stolen bases: Robbie Grossman (17)
Wins: Tarik Skubal (8)
Saves: Gregory Soto (18)

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

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