Hey there, everybody. It’s been a week since my last write-up so I hope you’re still undefeated this month. One of these times, we’re going to mess around and go 10–0.
It’s not likely to happen this month either because I’m determined to make a play today and I don’t love it. That said, it’s a worthwhile play and I’ll be in for small.
The Cleveland Indians are getting out of Tampa Bay on Wednesday but they’ve got to play the rubber match with the Rays first. Once they do escape, they play nine games in a row at Progressive Field, where they will clinch the division for the third year in a row.
So today’s game starts at 1 pm and, given the spot and who’s starting the game on the mound for each team, I like Tampa Bay, which is available as a pick.
Perhaps Chris Sale gets his Cy Young this season; it’s been long overdue, but Blake Snell has a case this year. Snell has thrown slightly more innings and has six more wins; Sale strikes out more batters (though Snell Ks an awful lot himself) with a marginally better WHIP and ERA.
The point is two-fold: Snell is about as dominant a pitcher as there is in baseball and he still has quite a bit at stake, personally, in each of these final starts. The Cy Young is a regular season award and the voters will take into account every regular season start. A few more dominant outings between now and the end of the month could be enough to give Sale the upper hand.
Carlos Carrasco is tough in his own right but isn’t the greatest matchup for him, going up against a relentless offense at a time of year when a starting pitcher’s perseverance can wane. The Rays aren’t going to make anything easy on Carrasco and there’s a chance he may not have the necessary fight in him to keep up with Snell in a relatively meaningless mid-September regular season game.
Then there’s the spot for each team. Cleveland will get out of town immediately following the game for that long home stand I mentioned in the open. The natural human behavior would be to look ahead to some home cooking this weekend; it’s extra exciting because of the magic number in the division. Perhaps Terry Francona even gives one or two of his guys the day off. I’m not assuming it will happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did, either.
The Rays, meanwhile, will stay right at home for three games against another one of the American League’s best: the Oakland A’s. The schedule is super cushy because they’ll get Thursday off at home. They ought to be more focused on the task ahead and determined to win before the day off and the A’s. That mindset, combined with the energy of its youth and the reckless abandon that comes without having to think about the playoffs coming up in a few weeks makes Tampa Bay my choice.
Play: Tampa Bay -105
Blake Snell • carlos carrasco • cleveland indians • Tampa Bay Rays