Saturday MLB: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Indians Preview and Odds - 07/24/2021

by Big Al Staff

Saturday MLB FS1 Night Preview: Tampa Bay Rays at the Cleveland Indians.

The Tampa Bay Rays play at the Cleveland Indians in the second game of the FS1 Saturday doubleheader at 7:10 PM ET. The Rays won the first two games of this weekend series after a 10-5 victory last night. Nelson Cruz banged his 20th home run of the season and his first in a Rays uniform after being acquired in a trade on Thursday. Matt Wisler got the victory for Tampa Bay from two innings pitched in relief.

The Rays have won four in a row to raise their record to 59-39. They are in second place in the American League East, one game behind the Boston Red Sox. Tampa Bay continued their activity before the trade deadline next Friday by trading starting pitcher Rich Hill to the New York Mets for pitcher Tommy Hunter and minor league catcher Matt Dyer.

Tampa Bay averages 4.9 runs per game, with a .232 batting average, a .309 on-base percentage, and an OPS of .708. Brandon Lowe leads the team with 21 home runs. Randy Arozarena is hitting .254 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs. Auston Meadows has 16 homers and a team-leading 66 RBIs. 

Manager Kevin Cash opts for Drew Rasmussen to pitch as an opener tonight. The right-hander has only started as an opener one other time this season in his 23 appearances. He has a 0-1 record with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 29 2/3 innings. Ryan Yarbrough is expected to be Cash’s bulk pitcher tonight after pitching on Monday. The lefty has a 6-4 record with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. The Rays’ bullpen has a 3.28 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. They have earned 27 saves and blown ten of their save opportunities. 

Cleveland got a three-run homer from Jose Ramirez last night in a losing cause. The future Guardians have lost 14 of their last 20 games to fall to a 48-47 mark. The currently-named Indians are in second place in the American League Central, nine games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox. 

Manager Terry Francona’s team averages 4.3 runs per game, with a .229 batting average, a .291 on-base percentage, and an OPS of .688. Ramirez leads the way with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs. Franmil Reyes has added 17 home runs and 45 RBIs that accompany his .263 batting average. Cesar Hernandez has 16 home runs, 43 RBIs, and a .227 batting average. 

J.C. Mejia gets the start for Francona after giving up four runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start at Houston on Monday. He did strike out a career-high eight batters in that effort. He has a 1-5 record this season with a 7.53 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. The Cleveland bullpen has a 3.52 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP this season. They have earned 25 saves and blown 11 of their save opportunities. 

DraftKings lists Tampa Bay as a -160 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10.5.

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

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