Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#5973 Kansas City Royals vs.
#5974 Tampa Bay Rays
Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 4:10pm EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

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The Kansas City Royals continue their four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon in Tampa Bay. The Royals are in full rebuild mode and are featuring a lineup that has several youngsters getting significant playing time. The Rays, meanwhile, are in the thick of the American League wildcard playoff race and need to put together series wins. On the mound on Saturday will be lefty Kris Bubic (2-7, 5.11) of the Royals taking on righty Drew Rasmussen (7-4, 2.80) of the Rays. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05pm EST.

Royal Overhaul

The Kansas City Royals continue their roster overhaul and have had some quality results thus far. Catcher/outfielder MJ Melendez has shown power and speed batting near or at the top of the order for a good portion of the season, Bobby Witt Jr. looks like the future superstar that the Royals were banking on him being and now second baseman Michael Massey is being given a chance to play regularly. Massey blasted his first major league home run in Thursday night's loss and should be given ample opportunity the rest of the way to prove his worth. On Friday night, the rebuilding Royals were led by their young budding stars. Witt Jr. blasted a two-run home run early and Massey hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning to give the Royals a 3-2 win in extra innings.

The Royals have not only featured a number of up-and-coming positional players, but they have also showcased a number of young pitchers this season as well. Kris Bubic, Max Castillo and Daniel Lynch are all Royals' starters that are 25 or younger. Brad Singer, who has shown the potential to be a potential staff ace, is just 26 years old. The left-handed Bubic will take the mound on Saturday afternoon against the Rays. Bubic is 1-1 with a 3.56 ERA in his last five starts. Bubic has faced the Rays once this season and gave up just four hits and two runs in seven innings work.

Rays Zeroing In

The Tampa Bay Rays are returning to form and it couldn't come at a better time. Despite a rash of injuries to their everyday lineup, the Rays are once again in the thick of the AL playoff race. Tampa started the week by taking two of three from the Yankees and missing a clean sweep only due to a walk-off grand slam from the Bronx Bombers on Wednesday night. In the opener against KC on Thursday, the Rays rolled to an easy 7-1 win highlighted by 5.2 strong innings from starter Luis Pitino, recently recalled from Triple-A after recovering from a lat injury that has sidelined him since April. On Friday night, the Rays clawed their way back from a 2-0 deficit on a two-run single by Randy Arozarena in the 6th but were done in by a sac fly in the top of the 10th for a 3-2 loss.

The Rays have won five out of their last six games and it has been through a steady diet of quality pitching and timely hitting. The Rays are averaging 5.5 runs over that six-game span and they have had three quality starts over the last six games. The resurgence of Saturday afternoon's starter, Drew Rasmussen, will go a long way towards deciding the Rays' playoff chances. In his last five starts, Rasmussen has gone 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in that time span. In his last start, on Sunday against the Orioles, Rasmussen had a perfect game through eight innings and had to settle for a 4-1 win after going 8.1 innings and allowing one hit and one run while striking out seven batters. Rasmussen is 1-0 against the Royals this season with an ERA of 1.80. He went five innings and allowed seven hits and one run while striking out four batters.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Heading into Friday night's matchup, the two teams have split the four games thus far this season. Both Bubic and Rasmussen have had good starts in their lone matchups with the opposition. In the last ten games, however, the Royals are just 3-7 while the Rays have gone 6-4. In addition, the Royals are 29-52 against teams over .500 and just 33-53 against right-handed starting pitching this season. The Rays, on the other hand, are 28-17 against teams below .500 and 14-13 vs. left-handed starters. I expect the Rays to grind out another win here as the red-hot Rasmussen gets them deep enough into the game to get to Tampa's dominant pen.

Take the Rays with the run line.

Prediction: Rays -1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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These two teams rank 24th and 25th in runs scored per game this season and will feature two pitchers at the top of their games over the last five outings. Rasmussen, in particular, has been lights out over his last five starts and has an ERA well under 2.00. He also will be backed by a Rays' bullpen that has been dominant over the past several weeks, particularly righty Jason Adam. Adam has turned into one of the more dominant relievers in baseball over the second half of the season, giving up just one hit in his last ten innings of work. The combination of Adam and Pete Fairbanks have given the Rays one of the best 1-2 bullpen punches in baseball.

Take the under, 7 runs.

Prediction: Under 7
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.