Tampa Bay enters game 2 of this interleague baseball series with a scuffling offense that is averaging 4.2 runs per game this season (.241 AVG.; .303 OBP), including 3.8 runs per game versus right-handed starters (.229 AVG.; .291 OBP). The Rays now face a surging Zack Greinke, who is coming off a solid month of May wherein he posted a 3.82 ERA, 3.55 FIP and 3.30 xFIP . The talented right-hander displayed better control while also improving his strikeout percentage and home run rate.
While Greinke’s 4.29 ERA and 1.23 WHIP doesn’t inspire much confidence, his 3.34 FIP and 3.52 SIERA are more accurate indicators of how he has performed in 2016. Indeed, both his swinging strike rate and strikeouts are similar to prior years, as is his walk rate.
A more encouraging sign is the fact that Greinke is getting batters to chase more pitches outside of the zone this season. The 32-year-old also toes the rubber in excellent form with a 2.14 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his last three starts.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay southpaw Matt Moore enters tonight with a 5.46 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, including a 6.33 ERA and 1.96 WHIP on the road and a 6.48 ERA and 1.92 WHIP over his last three outings. Moore owns a 4.80 FIP and 4.23 xFIP in 2016, together with a subpar 1.72 HR/9 rate.
The lefty is also growing frustrated with the artificial pitch count placed on him by management, stating the following after his last outing: “It’s baseball. This is not Little League with pitch counts or high school where they are trying to keep you healthy and things like that. This is the major leagues – it’s time to go.”
Moore posted a woeful 7.36 ERA, 5.93 FIP and 5.04 xFIP in the month of May and now facing an Arizona lineup batting .277 with a .433 SLG and .768 OPS versus left-handed starters. From a technical standpoint, Greinke’s teams are 30-9 versus hitters who strikeout 7+ times per game and 94-36 as home favorites, including 63-17 as favorites priced at -150 or higher.
The Rays are a money-burning 1-7 in Moore’s last 8 starts, including 0-4 in his last four road outings. With Arizona standing at 7-3 in the last ten meetings in this series, including 4-1 in its last five at home, take the Diamondbacks in this interleague baseball affair and invest with confidence.