The Tampa Bay Rays will host the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night. The Rays lost 8-7 to the Yankees on Wednesday courtesy of Josh Donaldson's walk-off grand slam. Tampa Bay sits at 62-54 this season following their late collapse. The Royals are now 48-71 this year after losing 4-0 to the Minnesota Twins.
Tampa Bay has been great at home, holding a 35-22 record at Tropicana Field. Kansas City has been subpar on the road, especially in Tampa Bay, where they've lost eight of the last 10 meetings.
Tampa Bay will go with Luis Patino for Thursday's matchup. He'll be making just his fourth start of the season. The Royals lineup is averaging a paltry 2.4 runs per game in their past seven, and they're coming off two consecutive shutouts.
Patino has electric stuff. Even though he hasn't pitched much this year, he should perform well against a very weak lineup. He probably won't last too deep, but the Rays won't mind as their bullpen has a 3.05 bullpen ERA this season.
Max Castillo will take the hill Thursday for Kansas City. He'll be making his third start of the year, and he'll be pitching against a manageable Rays lineup. Castillo's previous starts came as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, and it isn't certain how long the Royals will let him go tonight.
"Max Castillo heads to the mound for his Royals debut tonight to start the series vs. the Rays. #TogetherRoyal" - @Royals
Castillo has posted a 2.40 ERA in the minors this season, so we'll see if he can carry that success into Thursday's series opener.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals Match Details
Fixture: Kansas City Royals @ Tampa Bay Rays
Date & Time: Thursday, August 18, 7:10 p.m. EDT
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals Betting Odds
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals Best Picks
Randy Arozarena has been swinging a hot bat lately. In the last two weeks, he's launched four homers and has a .628 SLG. Expect the Rays outfielder to produce from the three-spot in the order against the Royals' rookie.
Pick: Randy Arozarena Over 1.5 Total Bases (+135)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals Betting Prediction
Max Castillo doesn't have a ton of stats to go on, but the Rays have excelled in their home stadium. On paper, Tampa Bay has a much stronger ballclub, but Kansas City did take two of three in a series versus the Rays in late July. Still, the Royals have lost several key players since that series, so look for Tampa Bay to keep rolling at home.
Prediction: Rays -1.5 (+100)
Last 15 Days' MLB Picks are: 127-92-4 (+232.5 Units)