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Bryan Power

Bryan Power

(921) Tampa Bay Rays at (922) Pittsburgh Pirates

(921) Tampa Bay Rays at (922) Pittsburgh Pirates
June 22, 2024 4PM EDT
Play Rating:
3% – 1H Pittsburgh Pirates -115 Z Eflin (RHP), J Jones (RHP) Must Start

3% Pittsburgh F5 (4:05 ET): Please note this play is for the first five innings. Tampa Bay took last night’s series opener at PNC Park in pretty convincing fashion (10-3). That said, even with their win streak now at three, the Rays do not impress me. They’re extremely fortunate to be sniffing .500 (37-39) as they have the 6th worst run differential in all of MLB (-63). What has aided TB is a fortunate 15-6 record in one-run games and 14-7 interleague record, the latter actually being the best of all American League teams. But the fact remains the Rays are +6 in actual vs. expected wins, making them the biggest overachievers in all of baseball at the moment. 

So I’m looking to fade. For Saturday’s game, I see a big edge in the F5 for the Pirates with Jared Jones on the hill. Yes, Jones got knocked around his last time out. But he was making his first career start at Coors Field. At home, Jones has a 2.14 ERA and 1.095 WHIP in seven starts. That includes six shutout innings of three-hit ball against the Dodgers earlier this month. Keep in mind that yesterday was a “bullpen game” for the Bucs. Having Jones on the mound today obviously gives them a MUCH better shot at winning, plus I love the discount we’re getting relative to how the team will be priced tomorrow when fellow rookie Paul Skenes starts. 

After three straight weak games, the Pirates’ offense is due to wake up here against Zach Eflin, who has an ERA approaching 5.00 away from home. It seems very fortunate that the Rays have won six straight Eflin starts considering that the righty hasn’t factored into the decision in any of the last four. This is a guy who lost on the road to the White Sox earlier this season (gave up five runs). I have some trepidation about what happens when this game gets to the bullpens, but early on the Pirates should have a substantial edge with Jones on the mound. For what it’s worth, the Pirates are 4-0 this season following a game where they allowed 10+ runs. If they are to get the win today, it will be because Jones helps them to an early lead. I like how we don't even need to lay half a run for a decent price (tie game after five would be a push). 3% Pittsburgh F5 (Play to -140)

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