The Texas Rangers take on the Tampa Bay Rays in game two of their four-game series on Tuesday night from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Game one saw a low-scoring affair where both teams only combined for four hits across the first seven innings. After getting swept by the Red Sox and dropping two of three to the Yankees, the Rays are desperate for a series win, as are the Rangers whose only series win came against the Blue Jays last week. With two more games on the horizon between these two teams this week, game two can go a long way to deciding the series.
Gibson Searching For ConsistencyOne player that couldn’t be more excited to return to Tropicana Field is the first baseman and former Tampa Bay Ray, Nate Lowe. Lowe who spent the last few years with the Rays leads the team with three home runs and 14 RBIs already on the year, good for first in Major League Baseball. He’s only hitting .235 but if the power and run production continue, that number is bound to go up. Of the regular starters, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa is leading the team with a .263 batting average, with the majority of the rest of the lineup falling between .200 and .250. A player to keep an eye on is young catcher Jose Trevino, who is hitting .391 in limited at-bats so far this season, but is slowly earning himself more and more starts and at-bats if he continues to be productive swinging the bat.
TX has arrived in TB ✌️ pic.twitter.com/8oABWVAme9— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 12, 2021
According to MLB.com, Kyle Gibson will make his third start of the season when he takes the mound on Tuesday night and his first two starts couldn’t have been more different. His Opening Day start against the Royals only saw him get one out before getting pulled, after allowing four hits and five runs. The last time out against the Rangers, he went six scoreless innings to get the win allowing six hits and only one walk, striking out eight. Gibson had a strong spring training, going 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA and ten strikeouts in ten innings, showing that his Opening Day start might have been more of an anomaly than his standard.
While pitching for the Twins in 2019, Gibson made three starts against the Rays and came out of the bullpen in a third game. He went 2-0 in those games, pitching 13 total innings, allowing ten hits total and four earned runs. According to Baseball Savant, Tamp Bay hitters have 53 at-bats and 55 plate appearances total against Gibson during his time in Minnesota and Texas over his nine-year career. Gibson has 12 strikeouts across that span and surrendered two walks, good for keeping the opposition to a batting average against of only .226.
Rays Looking For Fall SparkTamp Bay has all the makings of a team that should be fighting for a playoff spot by the end of the season, but the lack of cohesion between the pitching, defense, and offense, seems to be problematic. Austin Meadows is excited to be healthy again and is leading the team in home runs with three, but also only has three RBIs and is hitting .242. The hero of last year’s playoff run, Randy Arozarena, is hitting .314 in the early going and it’s hard to fathom he is still a rookie, but already looks like he could be the winner of Rookie of the Year once he finds the pop in his bat again. Third baseman Joey Wendle is hitting .348 and has seven RBIs and one home run. The player to keep an eye on is Mike Zunino at the bottom of the order, who continues to provide power at his spot in the lineup to keep any opposing pitching staff honest as they near the top of the order again.
According to MLB.com, Ryan Yarbrough is expected to make his third start of the season on Tuesday night against the Rangers after getting a no-decision in his first start and a loss in his last start. At home in his career, Yarbrough has thrown 169.2 innings and has an ERA of 4.46 but is hoping to take on the Rangers should see him move past those numbers. In his first start against Miami, he went 5.2 innings and allowed zero runs and only four hits, striking out three. His performance wasn’t quite as strong in his latest start against the Red Sox, giving up nine hits and six earned runs and only striking out two. While his strikeout numbers aren’t impressive, he only has one walk on the season but needs to work on getting hitters to chase a little more if he wants to bring down his 6.06 ERA.
Someone is 𝙡𝙤𝙘𝙠𝙚𝙙 in pic.twitter.com/NrtQKmRtN8— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 13, 2021
Yarbrough hasn’t faced the Rangers since 2019 when he faced them in a September start and getting the no-decision after throwing seven innings of three-hit baseball, allowing three runs, and striking out seven. His only other appearance against the Rangers came as a rookie in 2018, coming out of the bullpen and getting the win after four innings of work and allowing three runs. According to Baseball Savant, the current crop of Texas hitters only have 12 at-bats and 13 plate appearances total against Yarbrough. In that span, they have four hits and one walk, good for a batting average against of .333.
The top team trends according to Winners and Whiners are: - Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. American League East.
The top team trends according to Winners and Whiners are: - Rays are 0-4 in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400. - Rays are 0-4 in Yarbrough’s last 4 starts with 5 days of rest.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Gibson looked like a stud in his last start and quickly had fans put away worries about his ability to stay in the rotation going forward. The Rangers don’t have a ton of experience against Yarbrough, but are hitting .333 and should have some confidence to see him on the mound, especially after how Monday night’s game went. On the flip side, Tamp Bay hitters are only hitting .226 against Gibson in his career and that combined with how his last start went, should have out there feeling like one of the best pitchers in the league. There isn’t much to separate these two teams, as shown by Monday’s game, and Gibson being the better pitcher will be enough to see them get the road win.
Full-Game Total Pick
If Monday’s game is any indication of these two offenses, the under shouldn’t have any trouble hitting in game two. Gibson was a stud the last time out and should limit the Rays offense, while the Rangers offense is too inconsistent to rely on them to put up a big number, regardless of who might be on the mound for Tampa Bay. Additionally, according to covers.com, for the Rays, the under is 4-0 in Yarbrough’s last four starts as a favorite. In games between the two teams, the under is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings in Tampa Bay and is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings overall.