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  1. MLB

MLB - US Sports: Tampa Bay Rays @ Milwaukee Brewers preview

Two of the sides battling for a playoff place in their respective leagues face off at American Family Field, Milwaukee for a two-game series.

The Brewers are looking to get back on track after relinquishing their divisional number one spot to the St. Louis Cardinals. Milwaukee has six losses in its last seven games, five of those losses have come since the inexplicable Josh Hader trade.

Milwaukee fell two games behind the red-hot Cardinals in the National League Central standings despite holding the top spot from June 23rd up until Saturday and the Brewers are now +115 to win the Division.

The Tampa Bay Rays have always been behind the New York Yankees this season and have been batting for an American League Wild Card place with divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tampa Bay has a half-game lead over Seattle in the second of three Wild Card places.

The Rays are 12 games behind the Yankees in the AL East Division, and while the Bronx Bombers have been struggling of late, it would take a monumental effort to overtake New York.

What

Tampa Bay Rays vs Milwaukee Brewers, Game One of Two

Where

American Family Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

When

20.10 ET Tuesday August 9th

How to watch

Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports Wisconsin , bet365 Sports Live Streaming

Odds

Tampa Bay Rays +145, Milwaukee Brewers -165 

Why did the Brewers trade the best closer in MLB?

There was much talk amongst the Brewers fans that the Josh Hader trade to the San Diego Padres was a "salary dump" and initially there was silence from Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and President of baseball operations David Stearns.

Eventually, Attanasio addressed reporters at the recent home game with the Cincinnati Reds saying: "Cost-cutting had absolutely nothing to do with this.

"Every player that was available we had the resources to pick up, not only for the balance of this season, but for the seasons of their contract. Dollars didn’t come into the mix at all."

The Padres had been after Hader for at least a couple of seasons and while his numbers had dropped in his last few games, he was still at his best this season.

The Brewers received Taylor Rogers as a direct replacement, plus pitcher Robert Gasser, outfielder Esteury Ruiz and pitcher Dinelson Lamet in exchange for Hader.

Rogers' numbers were almost identical to Hader, the factor here is that Rogers is a free agent, while Hader was under club control until 2023.

It does look suspiciously like a salary dump as rumoured by the Brewers fans, especially as Lamet was designated for assignment almost immediately by Milwaukee.

Rays' sting regaining power

The Rays took a much-needed series win over the Detroit Tigers in a four-game series over the weekend. However, on Sunday it was 0-0 going into the ninth inning when Tampa's bats finally fired, claiming seven runs and the series.

The Rays were largely quiet on the Trade Deadline, they added a left-handed bat in David Peralta, along with a centre-fielder in Jose Siri.

Considering the amount of injuries that the Rays have sustained this season, you would expect them to have been more active in the trade market.

However, they have one of the lowest budgets in MLB. The Rays, according to spotrac.com have the 24th budget out of 30 MLB teams, just over $90million dollars - in contrast, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a $265m budget.

A bunch of Rays' players are still out injured and these include Wander Franco, Manuel Margot, Harold Ramirez, Matt Wisler, JT Chargois, Nick Anderson and Tyler Glasnow.

All of these are expected to come off the injured list in the next two months. This would be a huge boost to the Rays and how they have managed to remain in contention with this loss to the roster has been remarkable.

Head-to-Head

The Brewers swept the Rays in a two-game series earlier this season at Tropicana Field and with these two sides in separate leagues, the early-season meet-up was the first for five years.

In fact, these two sides have only met 14 times in total and they have seven wins each.

Milwaukee have announced that Freddy Peralta will be on the mound, while the Rays are yet to announce their starter for game one.

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