Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Rasmussen throwing a pitch during a MLB game.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Rasmussen delivers against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning during game 3 of a baseball American League Division Series, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays matchup at Tropicana Field on April, 9th
  • Tampa Bay is favored after winning the American League East in 2021
  • Read below for the latest odds and our betting preview

The Tampa Bay Rays (1-0) face the Baltimore Orioles (0-1) on the first Saturday of the 2022 MLB season at Tropicana Field. Scheduled to start at 1:10pm ET, Tampa Bay has Drew Rasmussen on the hill against Jordan Lyles of the Orioles.

The Rays are heavy favorites for this one after posting a dominant 18-1 record against the Orioles in 2021 — Baltimore is once again heading for a difficult year, and has the lowest line in MLB win totals. A rally in the eighth inning secured a win for Tampa Bay on Opening Day, extending their winning streak against the O’s.

Orioles vs Rays Odds

Team Runline Moneyline Total
Baltimore Orioles +1.5 (-109) +195 Ov 8.5 (-109)
Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 (-114) -250 Un 8.5 (-109)

Odds as of April 8th at Barstool Sportsbook

With Lyles coming off a rough couple of years with Texas (including a 5.37 expected ERA in each of those seasons), it’s no surprise that the Orioles are outsiders here. Baltimore lost 110 last season and covered the runline in just 70 games.

Probable Starters

The Orioles signed Jordan Lyles to a one-year, $7 million contract last month. Lyles gave up the most home runs in the Majors last season, and has conceded the most total runs in the American League over each of the last two seasons. He’s a workhorse, having pitched 180 innings last season, but he’s vulnerable against a Rays lineup which was third in OPS+ and fifth in homers in 2021.

Taking the bump for the Rays, Drew Rasmussen has been identified as a big-time breakout candidate in 2022 after excelling with the Rays in the second half of last year. The hard-throwing Rasmussen transitioned to starting duties, and pitched to a 1.79 ERA after the All-Star break with 14 appearances and nine starts.

Lyles vs Rasmussen

10-13 Record 0-1
5.15 ERA 2.84
5.37 xERA 3.65
19% K% 23.8%

Rasmussen was troubled by the walk during his time with the Brewers last season. He struck out fewer and walked far fewer once he put on a Rays uniform. With his explosive fastball-slider combination, he should enjoy success against an Oriole team which ranked fourth-worst when it came to swinging at pitches outside the zone.

Expect to see plenty of Baltimore hitters chasing the high fastball and the hard slider out of the zone.

Rays Dominate Orioles

It’s no secret that Tampa Bay are better than Baltimore. Going 18-1 like the Rays did in 2021 in this matchup is still a rare feat, however. Kevin Cash’s team haven’t lost to the Orioles since July, 19th of last year, and they added another win on Opening Day.

The World Series odds show that these teams are miles apart. The Rays are projected for 87 wins at FiveThirtyEight, while the Orioles are tabbed for a league-worst record of 61-101. With a 1.5 runline in Tampa Bay’s favor here, it’s worth noting that they won 15 of the 19 games last season by two or more runs. Baltimore had by far the worst team ERA in the Majors at 5.84.

Orioles vs Rays Last 10 Meetings

Date Home Team Away Team Score
4/8/22 Rays Orioles TB, 2-1
8/29/21 Orioles Rays TB, 12-8
8/28/21 Orioles Rays TB, 4-3
8/27/21 Orioles Rays TB, 6-3
8/19/21 Rays Orioles TB, 7-2
8/18/21 Rays Orioles TB, 8-4
8/17/21 Rays Orioles TB, 10-0
8/16/21 Rays Orioles TB, 9-2
8/8/21 Orioles Rays TB, 9-6
8/7/21 Orioles Rays TB, 12-3

Orioles vs Rays Prediction

While Rasmussen isn’t going to pitch deep into this game, he should set a solid foundation for the Rays to run away with another comfortable win against these Orioles. Lyles will eat innings for Baltimore this season, but he gives up a lot of hard contact (10th percentile in expected slugging in 2021) which doesn’t bode well against this deep Rays offense.

Tampa Bay has sufficient pitching options to keep this Orioles offense quiet even if Rasmussen isn’t in the game long. Given how he pitched down the stretch last season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he completely shut down the Baltimore bats. The Puyallup native gave up one earned run in 8.1 frames against the Orioles in 2021. We’re backing another comfortable Rays win on Saturday afternoon.

Pick: Rays -1.5 (-114)

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Sam Cox

Sports Writer


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