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Tampa Bay Looks to Extend Steak Behind Alex Cobb; Free Sports Pick

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Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball as he has allowed just one earned run over his last 13 1/3-innings of work, including a stellar outing against Baltimore wherein he allowed four hits and no earned runs over seven innings. Overall, Cobb owns a 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP this season, including a 3.30 ERA and 1.23 WHIP at home and a 2.08 ERA and 0.84 WHIP versus National League foes. The 26-year-old hurler certainly possesses elite skills as evidenced by his 51/17 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3-innings pitched, together with a 54% ground-ball rate and a varied pitch mix. The metrics also support Cobb’s peripheral numbers as he owns a 3.33 xFIP and 3.34 SIERA.

Pittsburgh arrives in town with an anemic offense that is batting just .241 with a .304 on base percentage on the road (3.6 runs per game) and .247 with a .333 on base percentage over the last ten days (4.2 runs per game). The Pirates turn to 30-year-old Edinson Volquez, who is 4-6 with a 4.67 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this season. Volquez is also 1-2 with a 5.08 ERA and 1.23 WHIP on the road, 0-2 with an 8.74 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in interleague play and 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA and 1.56 WHIP over his last three outings. The inconsistent right-hander is coming off his worst outing of the season wherein he yielded eight earned runs on six hits in just 2 1/3-innings against the Reds. The metrics also suggest that Volquez is a pedestrian arm at best as he owns a 4.25 xFIP and 4.30 SIERA this season.

Don’t look now but the Rays have won seven of their last eleven games after losing 14 of their previous fifteen contests. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Evan Longoria said. “We put ourselves in a pretty good hole, but I think that the belief on a daily basis is still we can come to the ballpark and win.” One of the most significant improvements has taken place in Tampa Bay’s bullpen as the Rays’ relief staff owns a 2.79 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over the last seven games. The same bullpen boasts a 3.52 ERA and 1.08 WHIP at home and a 3.50 ERA and 1.23 WHIP at night. In contrast, Pittsburgh’s bullpen has underperformed this season as evidenced by its 3.68 ERA and 1.27 WHIP on the road and 4.01 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over the last seven games.

From a technical standpoint, Pittsburgh is a money-burning 21-57 in its last 78 interleague games, 9-23 in its last 32 games on artificial turf and 13-43 in its last 56 interleague road games versus right-handed starters. Meanwhile, the Rays are 10-1 in their last 11 interleague home games versus teams with a losing record, 9-3 in their last 12 interleague home games versus right-handed starters and and 64-30 in their last 94 home games versus .499 or worse opposition. Let’s also note that the Rays are 7-3 in Alex Cobb’s last ten starts versus teams with a losing record and 4-1 in Cobb’s last five interleague starts. Take the Rays and invest with confidence.

Free Sports Pick: Tampa Bay Rays

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