Indians – Rays (8/31)

We’re back with another full MLB breakdown and this game is another big one for playoff positioning with very little separating the Indians and Rays in the American League Wildcard race. Very little separates these two clubs, and there is a lot at stake for both of these teams. We will break it down here, and if you haven’t already, check us out on Twitter: @sportsbettingm8 (Follow us) and subscribe to our free bets on Telegram:

Today’s bet: Cleveland Indians ML @ (2.10/+110)


Zach Plesac (chart on left) will pitch for the Indians who has quietly emerged a solid option this year for the Indians. The rookie has a 3.40 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP and a 7-4 record. Looking at his last 10 games, he has struggled against some of the best offenses in baseball, such as New York, Boston, and Houston. Outside of the game against the Orioles he has been in good form overall with the Indians being 8-1 in Plesac’s last 9 starts. He was crushed in the start in Baltimore, but now shifts to a more pitcher’s friendly park in Tampa, and should be able to pitch well enough to give the Indians solid bullpen a chance.

The Rays will start Diego Castillo as their “opener” with Jalen Beeks (chart on right) taking over and getting most of the work. So do not be confused by Diego Castillo being listed as the starter. We’ll take a look Beeks’s statistics. Looking at his last 10 games, he is not a pitcher we are necessarily trusting here. He has yet to find much consistency and has been in poor form as of late. In his last 15 innings, he’s allowed 14 runs and 23 hits. Given this form alone, we have a hard time backing Tampa as favorites

Advanced Numbers 

Going off of game logs and ERA isn’t enough here, we are going to bet against the recent form of Beeks, but we need to build a case for Zach Plesac, so we’ll take a look at some charts below:


We note the wOBA for Plesac against left-handed batters as the Rays lineup will consist of 5 left-handed batters in their lineup. Another notable piece of information is that Plesac appears to struggle against right-handed power as you can see he has an ISO above .200 to right-handed batters. In reference to wOBA, for opposing hitters anything less than .300 is considered poor. Plesac could have an edge here:

Rays ISO

Looking at the Rays lineup, the right-handed batters are not all too intimidating. Tommy Pham is probably the player to worry about the most, but outside of him, there is not a lot of dangerous power in the Rays lineup. There are no right-handed batters in the Rays lineup who have hit 20 home runs and the matchup should benefit Plesac.

Our final piece of information will involve pitch types, note how many change-ups Plesac throws to left-handed batters:

pitch types.PNG


Plesac throws 32.67% changeups to left-handed batters, compare this to the wOBA of the Rays hitters against this pitch type. Highlighted are the players to be most worried about but as you can see these players (Pham and Garcia) are right-handed, the rest of the lineup has not seen a lot of success. Note this is a small sample size on some hitters, but another potential edge

With all of this in mind, we like the value here on Cleveland. Like the Rays, they are in the midst of the playoff race as well. A lot is at stake between these two teams, and the Indians have been quite hot in the second half of the season making the division race with the Twins suddenly interesting. The Rays have seen some mixed results in recent weeks. Considering some of the information we mentioned, along with the importance of this series for Cleveland, we will side with the value here and roll with the Indians.

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