Last Updated Oct 07, 2022, 7:22 PM

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Guardians Picks, Predictions, Odds

The MLB Postseason festivities begin on Friday afternoon with a heavyweight pitching matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians. Game 1 coverage begins from Progressive Field in Cleveland at 12:07 p.m. ET on ESPN.

TAMPA BAY RAYS vs. CLEVELAND GUARDIANS BETTING PREDICTION

The Rays send LHP Shane McClanahan to the hill against Cleveland’s 15th-ranked scoring offense on Friday night (4.31 RSPG), who’s been lights out for Tampa Bay this season, as McClanahan enters the postseason boasting a 12-8 record and 2.54 ERA across 28 starts (0.93 WHIP), despite getting rocked in his lone outing against Cleveland (4.1 IP, 5 ER).

The Guardians, on the other hand, send RHP Shane Bieber to the mound against Tampa Bay’s 21st-ranked scoring offense (4.11 RSPG), who’s having another excellent campaign for Cleveland, as Bieber finished up the regular season sitting 13-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 31 starts (1.04 WHIP), which includes a pair of very different outings against Tampa Bay, as he allowed just one run in seven innings back in July, and allowed four runs in six innings in late September.

I’ll back Cleveland here, as Bieber has tossed six innings or more and allowed two runs or less in 10 of his last 13 starts for the Guardians (9-2, 2.04 ERA), likely presenting an uphill battle for the Rays and McClanahan, who’s 2-5 with a 4.20 ERA in his last 10 starts for Tampa Bay (1.19 WHIP).

Score Prediction: Guardians 4, Rays 2
Best Bet: Guardians ML (-120)

TAMPA BAY RAYS vs. CLEVELAND GUARDIANS BETTING ODDS

TAMPA BAY RAYS vs. CLEVELAND GUARDIANS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Friday, October 7, 2022
  • Matchup: AL East vs. AL Central
  • Venue: Progressive Field
  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Time-TV: 12:07 p.m. ET – ESPN
  • Expert Picks

TAMPA BAY RAYS BETTING ANALYSIS

The Rays finished third in the AL East with a record of 86-76 this season, which finished 13 games behind the first-placed Yankees and six games behind the second-placed Blue Jays, in turn, setting up Tampa Bay for a tough first-round matchup against Cleveland.

The Rays’ hitting typically isn’t their strong suit, as Tampa Bay enters the postseason ranked 21st in scoring and 17th in team batting average (4.11 RSPG, .239). However, Tampa’s defense has carried them this far, highlighted by the Rays’ pitching staff ranking fourth in ERA and eighth in opponent batting average during the regular season (3.41 ERA, .232).

CLEVELAND GUARDIANS BETTING ANALYSIS

The Guardians won the AL Central with a record of 92-70 this season, which finished seven games behind the Yankees for the second seed in the AL, in turn, setting up Cleveland for a favorable first-round matchup against Tampa Bay.

Hitting might not be the Guardians' specialty, as Cleveland enters the postseason ranked 15th in scoring and 21st in team slugging percentage (4.31 RSPG, .383), however, their defense has been excellent, highlighted by the Guardians’ pitching staff ranking sixth in the league in both ERA and opponent batting average this season (3.47 ERA, .230).

KEY PLAYERS

  • TBR: Randy Arozarena - OF (.263 AVG, 20 HR, 89 RBI)
  • TBR: Yandy Diaz - 3B (.296 AVG, 9 HR, 57 RBI)
  • CLE: Jose Ramirez - 3B (.280 AVG, 29 HR, 126 RBI)
  • CLE: Amed Rosario - SS (.283 AVG, 11 HR, 71 RBI)

PROBABLE PITCHERS

  • TBR: Shane McClanahan - LHP (12-8, 2.54 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 194 K)
  • CLE: Shane Bieber - RHP (13-8, 2.88 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 198 K)
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