MLB picks: Rays vs. Tigers, Reds vs. Cardinals
Let’s get the weekend started on the right foot as we make our Friday night MLB selections!
Leading off is our look at the series opener between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers. Then we’ll highlight an NL Central showdown between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Fri, September 10 2021, 11:10 PM
The Tigers hold plenty of appeal as home underdogs to the Rays on Friday night.
Michael Wacha starts for Tampa, and he’s had a rough go of things on the road in 2021, where his ERA is 6.75. He’s also allowing a .323 opponent batting average.
Wacha will have to be especially careful with Robbie Grossman, who homered once during a four-hit game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night, and is batting .357 over the last week. And Miguel Cabrera – who also had four hits on Wednesday – has a terrific 1.355 OPS in September.
Matthew Boyd counters for Detroit, sporting a solid 2.64 ERA over 47 2/3 innings pitched at home this year. He’s yet to face the Rays this season, but has strong numbers against streaking slugger Nelson Cruz, who’s a modest 4-for-21 (.190) all-time against Boyd.
The Tigers should also enjoy a late-innings advantage based on bullpen performance over the last two weeks. Detroit’s relief corps is sixth by ERA in that span (3.02), while Tampa’s is 18th (4.15).
Sat, September 11 2021, 12:15 AM
Runs should be at a premium when the Reds begin a three-game set with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Friday night.
Tyler Mahle gets the nod for Cincinnati, boasting a 1.90 ERA over 85 1/3 innings pitched on the road this season. He’s taken on St. Louis three times in 2021, going 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and .222 opponent batting average.
Jon Lester responds for the Redbirds, taking on the Reds’ 26th-rated lineup against lefties (.694 OPS). The veteran southpaw allowed only one hit over 6 1/3 innings in a his lone start against Cincinnati this year.
Both offenses are mired in a funk right now; the Cardinals have plated just 2.5 runs per game over their last six contests, while the Reds have mustered only 2.25 runs per game over their last four tilts.