Following a successful trip to the West Coast, the Tampa Bay Rays are back home at Tropicana Field, where they’ll play host to the Colorado Rockies. As they continue their hunt for first place in the AL East, every series is important, and we’ll preview the opening game of this series before going over which prop market I’ll be targeting.
Despite losing on Sunday, it was a successful weekend for the Rockies as they were able to come away with a series win over the White Sox. That was Colorado’s first series win since August 4th-6th, and they didn’t just win the first two games; they commanded them by outsourcing Chicago 25-6. Colorado would register nine hits in Sunday’s contest, but the team would ultimately still fall 10-5.
Now after an off-day, the Rockies will open this inter-league matchup with Ty Blach on the mound. The lefty has made five starts this season, and over his last three, he has worked up to about 80 pitches, essentially completing his transition to a starter role after beginning the season in the bullpen. In his most recent outing, Blach worked five innings and allowed two earned runs, ultimately leaving the game with a no-decision.
Blach now faces a Rays offense that has scored six or more runs in four straight games. Due to the hurricane in California, the Rays played a doubleheader on Saturday, and after dropping the opening game, they bounced back in the nightcap with an 18-4 win. The Rays picked up 20 hits in that game, including seven extra-base hits. Randy Arozarena, Isaac Paredes, and Jose Siri drove in eight of the team’s runs with home runs.
After getting a rare two days off in the middle of the season, the Rays will resume play tonight with Zack Littell on the mound. Another former reliever turned starter, Littell, has made four straight starts and allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of them. In his most recent outing against his former team, the right-hander allowed two earned runs over 5.2 innings while tying his single-game high in strikeouts this season with five.
Zack Littell’s outs recorded prop is currently set at 15.5, and I’ll be taking the over, which is priced at (-110). The right-hander has gone over this total in three straight starts, and tonight he takes on a Rockies offense that has struggled mightily outside of Coors Field. With the right-hander’s impressive command and the Rockies' lack of discipline, I think he can cruise through the first couple of innings while keeping his pitch count low.
Littell enters tonight in the 99th percentile in walk percentage, while his matchup, the Rockies, has the second-lowest walk percentage against right-handed pitching on the road over the past 30 days at 5.4%. The Rockies' offense also ranks 30th in OBP, 27th in wRC+, and 26th in wOBA in that same split.
Over his last three starts, Littell has been averaging 12.8 pitches per innings, and with the Rockies struggling in this spot, there is no reason why he can’t produce similar numbers tonight. The Rays right-hander has a 66% first-pitch strike rate which is 5.1% above league average, and a 3.34 xFIP at home, so this is a good spot and price to target him.
Zack Littell Over 15.5 Outs Recorded (-110)