M's Take on Rays

Andy Sonnanstine figured to be at the back of the Tampa Bay Rays' rotation this season. A pair of injuries, however, have moved him much closer to the front.

Sonnanstine looks to help the Rays end a three-game losing streak Wednesday night when they continue a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Tampa Bay -123 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on Seattle +113 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Scott Kazmir and James Shields were expected to anchor a solid top of the rotation for Tampa Bay (3-4), but Kazmir began the season on the 15-day disabled list because of a left elbow strain. Kazmir threw 42 pitches during his first batting practice session on Tuesday and could rejoin the team before the end of the month.

While Shields is healthy, No. 3 starter Matt Garza left Tuesday's start against Seattle (3-5) in the third inning with an irritated nerve in his pitching arm and was placed on the DL after the game.

"We're going to take our time,'' Garza said. "It's something I've dealt with over time, but I was able to fight through it. (It started) more towards late last year. It got to the point where, I've got to get looked at and see what's going on. It was like somebody was pressing down on my arm.''

Garza was one of the Rays' biggest offseason acquisitions, coming from Minnesota in a trade that sent outfielder Delmon Young to the Twins.

"It just came up during the game,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Just kind of an irritant kind of a thing where he tightened up and it didn't feel right. Obviously we're not going to let him pitch at that point.''

Tampa Bay recalled pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu from Triple-A Durham. He will work out of the bullpen while a fifth starter behind Shields, Sonnanstine, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel will need to be found.

After dropping two straight at Yankee Stadium, the Rays lost their home opener 6-5 on Monday.

Scott Dohmann and Gary Glover followed Garza and combined to allow three runs in three innings, including Richie Sexson's two-run single in the sixth that put the Mariners ahead for good.

Seattle rebounded after it was swept in a four-game series at Baltimore, getting three RBIs from Sexson and three hits each from Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Lopez.

Ichiro is batting .457 (16-for-35) during an eight-game hitting streak against Tampa Bay.

The Mariners' bullpen worked three scoreless innings Tuesday after entering the series with a major league-worst 8.04 ERA. Roy Corcoran pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Erik Bedard and Ryan Rowland-Smith got the last five outs for his first career save.

"We needed that win in the worst way,'' Seattle manager John McLaren said. "We got sloppy at times, we left some runners on base, but bottom line is we got us a win we needed in the worst way.''

Sonnanstine (1-0, 6.00 ERA) overcame one bad inning and won his season debut, 13-4 at Yankee Stadium on Friday. The right-hander was reached for four runs in the third, but held the Yankees scoreless over the following three frames. He gave up six hits, did not issue a walk and struck out four in six innings of work.

Sonnanstine was outstanding in his only career start against the Mariners, yielding one run and six hits over seven innings in a 9-2 win at Safeco Field last Sept. 16.

Jarrod Washburn (0-1, 5.40) looks to improve on his season debut for Seattle. The left-hander wasn't sharp in a 7-4 loss at Baltimore on Friday, allowing three runs and six hits while throwing 103 pitches over five innings.

Washburn is 10-3 with a 2.69 ERA in 15 career starts against Tampa Bay.

Here are some top trends for today's matchup:

-TAMPA BAY is 44-38 (+15.1 Units) against the money line in home games after a loss over the last 3 seasons.

-SEATTLE is 91-79 (+15.0 Units) against the money line in all games over the last 2 seasons.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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