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Tampa Bay Rays Betting Predictions – American League Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 2/14/2013 6:17:03 PM

When football betting students look for a spring diversion and study the realm of Major League Baseball, they're going to be impressed with the American League team in the state of Florida.

For years the Tampa Bay Rays looked up at the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, essentially unable to compete given the fraction of the payroll the team had in comparison to its big-market competitors. However, through an intelligent development system and crafty transactions, the Rays have found a way to become formidable competitors year in and year out in the American League East, and 2013 will likely mean the same.

In 2012 the team came up a little bit short of the postseason, and yet it would be foolish to not mention the fact that its best bat, Evan Longoria, missed a substantial portion of the season with an injury. Therefore, while the team may not have been able to get over the hump without him, it’s hard to imagine the Rays weren’t one of the best teams in the league had Longoria been able to stay healthy. With him set to return in 2013, the rest of the American League should be concerned.

Even if you don't care for online casino games, you have to admit that Tampa Bay has some excellent dealers. For the Rays, the path to the American League pennant again starts with the pitching staff. David Price, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, will anchor a talented rotation that helps compensate for a less than stellar lineup. In 2012 the Rays led the American League with a 3.19 ERA, three-tenths of a run lower than any other team in the league. The team threw the second most shutouts, gave up the fewest hits of any staff by over 100, allowed the fewest home runs, and had the most strikeouts. As you can tell, the rotation was elite. In the offseason the Rays dealt James Shields in a deal for the Kansas City Royals’ top prospect, Wil Myers.

Behind Price in the rotation are Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson. Moore struggled in his first full season but has shown flashes of brilliance that have some thinking he’ll be the next big-league ace on the staff. Hellickson isn’t an overpowering pitcher by any means, but he mixes pitches well and was second on the team with a 3.10 ERA last season. If the two bounce back with big years in 2013, the Rays perhaps become the favorite to win their division if they aren’t already.

The question for the Rays is where the offense will come from. B.J Upton is now in Atlanta and Evan Longoria can’t carry all the weight himself. Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce figure to be the two guys who have to step up in the absence of Upton’s team-leading 28 home runs a year ago. The Rays had the third worst team batting average in the A.L. last year and struck out more than anyone but Oakland. While the team doesn’t need to score six or seven runs to win most nights, in a division with teams that have potent lineups, it’s hard to count on one or two runs holding up on a regular basis. Sport betting lines are likely to project few runs in most Rays games, but Tampa Bay will have to be more productive than it was last year.

If the Rays can avoid the injury bug and get some pop out of the middle of the order, it will be tough for the Yankees and Orioles to hold the Rays off in the race for the postseason. Joe Maddon is one of the better managers in the game. Going forward, he has to feel pretty good about his club’s chances.

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