Previewing the 2023 Citrus Series

What to expect from the next two games between the Marlins and Rays.

The Miami Marlins just snapped their eight-game losing streak on Sunday, thanks to a walk-off winner by none other than Luis Arráez. As the deadline looms closer and closer, Miami heads up to St. Petersburg to face the Tampa Bay Rays in what will be part one of their annual “Citrus Series” matchup.

Tampa Bay Rays

When looking at the Rays lineup, you’ll find Randy Arozarena right in the middle. He’s slashing .269/.372/.453/.825 with 17 home runs, 62 RBIs and a 137 wRC+. Arozarena has a .328 BABIP and strikes out at a 24.5% rate, but walks at a 11.5% rate.

Yandy Díaz just continues to have a great season for the Rays. In 2022, the Cuban first baseman received down-ballot AL MVP votes, but this season, he has improved in every statistical category. Díaz is slashing .317/.401/.505/.905 with 14 home runs, 47 RBIs and a 159 wRC+. If there is a hitter that Miami will have to fear the most, it will be Díaz because he is such a well-rounded hitter.

At shortstop, you have former number one prospect Wander Franco, who is slashing .267/.331/.437/.767 with 11 home runs, 47 RBI and a 115 wRC+. Franco leads the team with 28 stolen bases.

Despite a 30.4% strikeout percentage, an underrated player on the Rays is DH Luke Raley who is slashing .268/.353/.540/.893 with 15 home runs, 39 RBI and a 150 wRC+. Raley is a prime example of how well the Rays identify overlooked talent. He was acquired from the Dodgers last year in a minor trade and spent most of 2022 in Triple-A before this breakout season.

Game One (Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. ET)

On the mound for Miami for game one, it’ll be Edward Cabrera. He looked great in his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, coming off the injured list by going five innings, striking out six, giving up one home run, only two hits allowed, but he issued three walks. After a shaky first inning, Cabrera was consistent. Cabrera didn’t generate much swing-and-miss action, but still got enough strikeouts and weak contact to be effective.

This will be an interesting test for Edward. He is known for his changeup, but Tampa Bay ranks third in the majors with a .282 batting average against changeups in 2023. Also worth noting, aside from the Cardinals start, his only great performances this season have come against weak opponents (Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics).

On the other side, Tyler Glasnow is the starting pitcher for the Rays. This season, the tall righty is sporting a 3.62 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 13.17 K/9 and 2.96 BB/9 through 54.2 IP. Glasnow mainly relies on his fastball, slider and curveball. He would be leading American League starters in strikeout rate if he had enough innings to qualify. In his last start, Glasnow went seven innings, struck out nine and only allowed two earned runs. Opponents are only slashing .198/.246/.372/.618 against him at the Trop.

Betting Lines—Game One (via FanDuel)

Moneyline: Tampa Bay -210

Spread: -1.5 Tampa Bay (+104)

Isaac’s Locks—Game One

  1. Tyler Glasnow over 8.5 strikeouts
  2. Edward Cabrera over 1.5 walks
  3. Miami +1.5

Game Two (Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. ET)

The theme of Sandy Alcantara‘s 2023 season has been one inning of disaster, then looking good the rest of the way through. That was once again the case in his last start against the Cardinals, where he gave up four runs in the first inning and followed it with five scoreless frames.

The Marlins bullpen has been burnt out lately, so the key for Sandy will be using his pitches efficiently and lasting deep into the game.

Betting Line and Isaac’s Locks—Game Two

Coming soon

Ways to watch and listen

  • Bally Sports Florida
  • Bally Sports Sun
  • 940 AM
  • MLB.TV

3 responses to “Previewing the 2023 Citrus Series”


    Tampa sweeps the short series (2 games to 0). MVP – Arozarena. (Sorry).

  2. Leo Armbrister Avatar
    Leo Armbrister

    The Rays have had the Marlins number. They need to play their best baseball and take two games in Tampa. Then management needs to get a big bat to help get this team to the playoffs.

    1. It is astonishing how lopsided their head-to-head matchups have been the last 5 years. About as bad as any “rivalry” in the league during that period.

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