Tampa Bay Rays vs Washington Nationals Preview (June 29): Schwarber Is Fueling Washington’s Surge But Rays Have Knack for Limiting Offense

Matt Wiesenfeld

The top story in MLB right now is Nats slugger Kyle Schwarber, who is on a power streak like we have not seen since guys like Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds were swatting homers with ease. He is just the third player in history to hit 15 homers in a 17-game stretch, joining the aforementioned. That power surge has been noted from an MLB betting angle, as Schwarber has moved to +5000 to win NL MVP.

Not to get lost in the story of Schwarber is the resurgence that he has helped lead for the Nationals. After yesterday’s win, they are back at .500 and just three games behind the Mets in the NL East. This team has become relevant and interesting over the month of June. The latest MLB betting odds have them at +1000 still to win the NL East, but how long will that number remain if they keep winning?

Meanwhile, Tampa is clicking along after a brief skid, winning games with their usual/unusual way. They have some buzz too now with shortstop Wander Franco, MLB’s top prospect, finally up with the team. He hit a home run in his first game but since then has found it a struggle. Typical rookie stuff.

Tampa always has a little bit of a different approach, so perhaps they can cool off Schwarber. If they can’t, it looks like it might be more of the same as the Nationals have really heated up with the weather.

Tampa Bay Rays (47-32) vs Washington Nationals (38-38), MASN 2, 7:05 PM ET

Probable Pitchers

  • Tampa Bay Rays: Rich Hill (6-2, 3.52 ERA)
  • Washington Nationals: Joe Ross (4-7, 4.12 ERA)

Rays vs Nationals Betting Odds

  • Moneyline: Rays -110, Nationals -110
  • Total: OVER 9 (-125), UNDER 9 (+104)
  • Run Line: Rays -1.5 (+144), Nationals +1.5 (-173)

Odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Tuesday, June 29 at 10:39 am ET. For MLB betting odds for today’s other matchups, check out our MLB odds.

Rays vs Nationals Betting Consensus

  • Moneyline: Rays 60%, Nationals 40%
  • Total: Over 0%, Under 100%
  • Run Line: Rays 0%, Nationals 100%

Tampa Bay Rays vs Washington Nationals June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

Washington’s Success More than Just Schwarber’s Slugging

When a guy is hitting like Schwarber has been it is easy to lose sight of what else is going on in Washington. The reality is that for everything they have done this month, they are still averaging less than four runs per game for the season. The top of the order can be deadly with Schwarber followed by SS Trea Turner and then OF Juan Soto. Soto is the guy they need to heat up. He is taking his walks but has not homered since June 9th.

While the offense has picked up, the pitching has improved too. Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin have been very effective, and they will get Stephen Strasburg back at some point next month. They are starting to look a lot like the World Series-winning team of 2019 that just needed some time to find their groove. If you have faith in the Nationals making a similar run, MLB betting odds have them at +3800 to win the NL pennant and +8000 to win the 2021 World Series.

Hitting Still a Concern for Rays Even After Adding Franco to Lineup

Tampa is just a smidge behind Boston in the AL East. They appear to be able to stay near the top, but you wonder if this team has moves to make. They have already brought up Franco as well as Shane McClanahan, their top pitching prospect, a couple of months ago. Both likely belong at this level but are not setting the world on fire.

For Tampa, I am most concerned about their offense. They might be 7th in scoring, but with a batting average that is just 25th and an OPS that is only 15th, there might be a little too much luck built into those numbers. OFs Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena have had their moments, but they are not fully established yet. Their best hitter of late has actually been C Mike Zunino. He has had a power surge too with four homers in his last 8 games.

Tampa has strong pitching, but with ace Tyler Glasnow hurt, they are going to be mixing and matching more than ever. Lucky for them they are more than comfortable doing so. Perhaps that will slow down the Nats.

Rich Hill Home vs Away

  • Home: 3-2, 3.42 ERA, 43.2 IP, 55 Ks, 16 BBs
  • Away: 3-0, 3.55 ERA, 33 IP, 23 Ks, 13 BBs

Joe Ross Home vs Away

  • Home: 1-3, 5.74 ERA, 26.2, 26 Ks, 6 BBs
  • Away: 3-4, 3.21 ERA, 47.2, 47 Ks, 20 BBs

When Rich Hill signed with the Rays I thought he would be a perfect opener for them. But he has given them a lot more than that though. He can still spin that curve and be really solid for five innings. He could also be the perfect equalizer to Schwarber. Ross’ home splits are weird especially because it is not a control thing. Maybe he just needs more innings at Nationals Park to even things out.

Rays vs. Nationals Best Bet: Rays ML – The Nats have elite starters, but Ross is not one of them. Assuming Hill can negate Schwarber and Soto, the advantage quickly swings in the Rays’ direction. The bullpen is a major edge for the Rays too. That group is second in the Majors in WAR.

June 28 MLB Betting Matchups – National League

MLB Betting Matchup: Miami Marlins vs Philadelphia Phillies, NBC Sports Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Probable Pitchers

  • Miami Marlins: Trevor Rogers (7-4, 2.08 ERA)
  • Philadelphia Phillies: Vince Velasquez (2-2, 4.74 ERA)

Miami Marlins vs Philadelphia Phillies June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

MLB Betting Matchup: San Diego Padres vs Cincinnati Reds, Ball Sports Ohio, 7:10 PM ET

Probable Pitchers

  • San Diego Padres: Blake Snell (3-3, 5.29 ERA)
  • Cincinnati Reds: Tony Santillan (1-1, 3.29 ERA)

San Diego Padres vs Cincinnati Reds June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

MLB Betting Matchup: New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves, MLB Network, 7:20 PM ET

Probable Pitchers

  • New York Mets: Tyler Megill, (0-0, 4.15 ERA)
  • Atlanta Braves: Charlie Morton (7-3, 3.68 ERA)

New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

MLB Betting Matchup: Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers, Bally Sports Wisconsin, 8:10 PM ET

Probable Pitchers

  • Chicago Cubs: Zack Davies (5-4, 4.31 ERA)
  • Milwaukee Brewers: Brandon Woodruff (6-3, 1.89 ERA)

Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

MLB Betting Matchup: Arizona Diamondbacks vs St. Louis Cardinals, Bally Sports Midwest, 8:15 PM ET

Probable Pitchers

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Caleb Smith (2-3, 3.03 ERA)
  • St. Louis Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (3-9, 6.78 ERA)

Arizona Diamondbacks vs St. Louis Cardinals June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

MLB Betting Matchup: Pittsburgh Pirates vs Colorado Rockies, ATT Sportsnet Rocky Mountain, 8:40 PM ET

Probable Pitchers

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: Chae de Jong (0-2, 4.94, ERA)
  • Colorado Rockies: German Marquez (6-6, 3.99 ERA)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Colorado Rockies June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

MLB Betting Matchup: San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers, ESPN, 10:10 PM ET

Probable Pitchers

  • San Francisco Giants: Kevin Gausman (8-1, 1.49 ERA)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: Walker Buehler (7-1, 2.51 ERA)

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers June 29 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

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