Tampa Bay Rays
Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 7:10pm EDT
The Tampa Bay Rays have been doing very well lately as they are second in the AL East with a 57-39 record this season. They will have rookie righty Luis Patino and he has not pitched in the majors since July 2 when he lost to the Toronto Blue Jays. In that game, he went 5.1 innings and allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
The Cleveland Indians are trying to remain competitive in the AL Central as so far this season they are 47-45, which is good for second in the division. They have not officially announced who will be on the mound but according to Fangraphs, Cal Quantrill is expected to start this game. He is coming off a victory over the Oakland Athletics where he went five innings and gave up a run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Rays the ScoreThe Tampa Bay Rays are considered to be an average offense compared to the rest of the league as they are 16th in the majors with a .712 OPS. However, they have been very good on the road this season as they are scoring the third-most runs away from their home stadium (254 or 5.29 per road game). They have been producing at a high level and don’t care about swinging and missing as they lead the majors with 975 strikeouts or 10.2 strikeouts per game. Second baseman Bradon Lowe has been leading the offense this season as he has a .790 OPS with 21 home runs and 48 RBI this season. If the Rays can continue to score runs at a high clip, they will be in a great spot here.
Luis Patino has been doing well in his limited action this season according to his Baseball Savant page as he is in the 34th percentile in max exit velocity, 77th percentile in fastball velocity, 83rd percentile in fastball spin, and 56th percentile in curve spin. He has a five-pitch arsenal (fastball, slider, sinker, changeup, curveball) and his slider has been incredible as it has a .097 batting average with 19 strikeouts. It will be interesting to see how he attacks this lineup for the first time in his career.
Cleveland Not HittingThe Cleveland Indians have been a below-average offense this season as they are tied for 21st with a .695 OPS. Their offense has been struggling recently as they are averaging 3.93 runs in the month of July. They aren’t getting base hits though throughout the season as they are hitting .230, which is 26th in MLB. Third baseman Jose Ramirez has been leading the offense for the Indians as he has an .846 OPS with 19 home runs and 52 RBI. He has missed the last two games as he is dealing with left elbow soreness. If Cleveland can continue to pitch well, they don’t need the offense to do too much.
Cal Quantrill has been struggling this season according to his Baseball Savant page as he is in the sixth percentile in xBA, eighth percentile in strikeout percentage, seventh percentile in whiff percentage, and 13th percentile in xERA. His 7.9 barrel percentage is the highest in his career. Quantrill also throws five pitches (sinker, slider, changeup, fastball, curveball) and his heater has been getting hit as it has a .367 batting average with a .533 slugging percentage this season. He has faced the Rays once in 2019 as a member of the San Diego Padres and won as he went 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
Stats & Trends
- Tampa Bay: 6-1 in their last 7 Thursday games
- Tampa Bay: 9-3 in their last 12 games
- Cleveland: 0-4 in their last 4 home games vs a team with a winning record
- Cleveland: 5-12 in their last 17 games
Cleveland is a decent team but Tampa Bay is one of the best teams in all of baseball at this point. The Rays need to have a quick hook with Patino as he has struggled in his last two outings but allowed two or less runs in four of his six outings this season. Quantrill has a 5.68 ERA in nine starts this season. The Rays are 13-3 in the last 16 games against the Indians so go with the Tampa Bay Rays to win the first game of their series here.