Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#1915 Detroit Tigers vs.
#1916 Tampa Bay Rays
Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Jordy

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The Tampa Bay Rays hope to strike even in their second series run-in with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. It won’t be easy considering the run the Tigers have been on as of late. After upsetting the Rays, they swept the Milwaukee Brewers in a two-game meeting at Comerica Park. Meanwhile, the Rays dropped their second straight series loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Left-handed pitcher Tyler Alexander has been pegged as the starter for the Tigers against Tampa Bay’s Dietrich Enns.

Can the Tigers keep their run alive on the road?

The Tigers were sending the Rays home as losers the last time these two teams shared the baseball diamond together. If you thought that win was a fluke, you were surely surprised to see them knock off the Milwaukee Brewers right after the Rays.

And now, they’ll have an opportunity to do it all over again at Tropicana Field.

Left-hander pitcher Tyler Alexander had a hand in the series victory by leading the charge in the opener last Friday. The 27-year-old Chicago native held the Rays to five hits and only one run in 4.1 innings of work in that game. He hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in his last five games. So it’ll be interesting to see how he handles himself in a rematch on the road against the league’s No. 1-ranked run-scoring offense.

But then again, the Tigers won’t be pulling off any upsets if their own offense isn’t on fire. That was the key in the last head-to-head series with them averaging 6.6 runs per game. Another effort like that one is the only way they have a shot at making some noise in St. Petersburg.

Will the Rays get even?

The Rays are in cruise control of the AL East division, but they still can’t afford to get too complacent in the last stretch of the regular season. They got sent home empty-handed in their previous road trip to Comerica Park, and the same happened in their series loss at Rogers Centre against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Thursday’s run-in with the Tigers gives them an opportunity to avenge a previous loss, along with avoiding a third consecutive series loss.

The first order of business is doing a better job of locking things down at the plate. It’s hard to win a series meeting when you’re handing out double-digit runs in the opener. Dietrich Enns (3.38 ERA) is slated to start at pitcher for the Rays, but he’ll only be making his second-ever big-league start. You have to wonder if his lack of experience will play a significant role in this game, although he did blank the Tigers when he stared them down last Saturday.

The Rays’ high-powered offense might have to score a bunch of runs to keep things close with a Tigers team that’s suddenly firing on all cylinders. They certainly have the bats to do as such with the team ranking fifth in the league in isolated power (.186) and No. 1 with an average of 5.37 runs per game. However, it must be mentioned that the Rays are clearly hitting the ball on the road better than they have been at home. It’ll be interesting to see if that plays a factor in Thursday’s game as well.

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Tyler Alexander will be coming into this game looking for a little déjà vu after lending a helping hand to the Tigers in a series-opening victory over the Rays last weekend. Could we be looking at a repeat of that performance and outcome?

The Rays have clearly taken their foot off the gas with the team being comfortably ahead in the AL East divisional rankings. Not only did they just lose a weekend series to the Tigers, but they’re also coming off a series loss to the Toronto Blue Jays as well.

Detroit has scored eight-plus runs in two of their three games with the Rays. They’ll continue to feed off their random offensive spark against Dietrich Enns, who is making his first start of the season and his second start as a big-leaguer. So there will be plenty of pressure on him heading into the game.

The Tigers' offense came back down to Earth a bit against a Brewers team with one of the league’s top-ranked pitching rotations. But that won’t be the case against this Rays team. Tampa Bay is clearly one of the best teams in the American League, but they’re only averaging 5.33 hits and 3.33 runs in their last three games.

No, it hasn’t all been perfect on the mound, but it won’t have to be because the bats will come through for Detroit in this game. I’m taking the Tigers on Thursday.

Prediction: Detroit Tigers (+178)

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The Tigers are going to turn this head-to-head meeting into an AL dog fight. They’re already coming in hot after consecutive series victories over the Rays and Milwaukee Brewers. Tampa Bay is also doing them a favor by starting Dietrich Enns in this matchup, which they’ll make them pay dearly for on Thursday.

But you can rest assured that effort won’t be one-sided.

The Rays are putting up runs at will against opposing teams as well, and they’ll push the Tigers to the very end in this game. Minus their recent run-in with the Brewers, the Tigers defense still looks like a mess, and the Rays are clearly going to hang runs on the scoreboard. Give me the over in this one.

Prediction: Over (9)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.