Tampa Bay has a dynamic starting rotation that keeps them in virtually every game vs. the MLB lines.
MLB odds are starting to favor Tampa Bay on a regular basis. The rotation still doesn’t get the respect it deserves but it that is changing. The Rays are led by James Shields who is probably the biggest name of the five starters. Matt Garza is known for his strong personality and temper while David Price is the big-time prospect. Jeff Niemann is the consistent starter who just wins games while Wade Davis is the newcomer. All five starters want to pitch deep into games and Tampa doesn’t have a weak link in their rotation. Even though they all want to go deep into games, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has been careful not to overwork any of them.
Tampa Bay’s rotation was leading the Major Leagues and it was not even close. The Rays were well ahead of Seattle and New York in terms of starters ERA as MLB odds stats indicated. In the first 45 games, a Tampa Bay pitcher went at least five innings in every game except two. One of those games was when Niemann was hit by a line drive in the second inning. The other game happened this past Monday when Davis only went 3 2/3 innings in a 6-1 MLB lines loss to Boston.
There have been only three starting staffs since 1939 to have five pitchers go 200 innings or more in the same season. It has been 30 years since the last team as the Oakland A’s in 1980 had a rotation of Matt Keough, Brian Kingman, Rick Langford, Steve McCatty and Mike Norris. The other two teams were the 1977 Dodgers and then you have to go back to the Tigers of 1957.
Tampa Bay has the second-youngest starting rotation in all of baseball next to Oakland’s. The oldest starter is Shields and he is just 28 years old. Shields pitched into the seventh inning in six of his past seven starts and he is a threat to win every time vs. the MLB odds.