The Tampa Bay Rays (52-26) host the Kansas City Royals (21-54) at Tropicana Field on Friday. The Royals took Thursday’s series opener 6-5. Reliever Aroldis Chapman threw one scoreless inning to get the win, and Scott Barlow earned his ninth save with a scoreless ninth.
MJ Melendez was 3 for 4 with one run and two RBIs in the win. Drew Waters added a home run and three RBIs. Yandy Diaz went 3 for 5 with two runs for the Rays.
ON THE MOUND
Zack Greinke (1-7, 4.81 ERA) is slated for the start for Kansas City. The RHP allowed four runs over five innings in his last start, a 5-2 road defeat against the Angels on Sunday. He took the loss, giving up eight hits while striking out four and walking one.
Greinke is making his first appearance against the Rays this season. Greinke made one start against the Rays in 2022, a 3-2 road loss on August 21. He surrendered two runs on five hits over four innings, striking out two and walking one.
For Tampa Bay, RHP Zach Eflin (8-3, 3.26 ERA) is on the mound. It’s his first appearance of the season against the Royals. In his last start on Saturday, Eflin took the loss on the road against the Padres.
He threw six innings and gave up two runs on four hits, striking out five and walking two in the 2-0 defeat. The righty is tied for third in the AL in wins.
AT THE PLATE
Over the last five games, Kansas City has averaged 3.4 runs a game, a small drop compared to their season average of 3.8. Against righties like Eflin this season, the Royals have a .664 OPS, the third lowest in MLB. Salvador Perez is the team’s strongest performer against right-handers with a .876 OPS in 189 at-bats.
Tampa Bay is averaging only 4.4 runs per game in the last five, down from 5.6 for the season, with their slugging percentage slipping to .347 from .464.
The Rays have a .797 OPS against right-handers in 2023, the highest in the league. With a .424 OBP over 152 at-bats, Randy Arozarena has their highest on-base percentage against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Kansas City is 11-26 in away games in 2023, scoring 3.3 runs per game while allowing 4.9 runs. Tampa Bay has gone 32-9 at Tropicana Field this season, averaging 5.9 runs per game while surrendering 3.7. Tampa Bay is 6-4 in the last 10 games between the teams at Tropicana Field with an average scoreline of 3.9-3.1.
The Royals are fifth in the AL Central, 16 games behind the division-leading Twins. The Rays lead the AL East by four games over the Orioles.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
TB Rays (-125)
Want up to a $1K risk-free bet for this pick?
Claim with today!
If you need more news, information, and predictions, head over to our MLB hub page for all your baseball needs!
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.