The Best of the Day preview swings for the bleachers with MLB tips for the first of three clashes between the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays.

MLB Tips – San Diego Padres V Tampa Bay Rays

12:10 (AEST) @ Petco Park, San Diego

History: Played 18: Rays 12 V Padres 6

Last meeting: August 17, 2016: Rays 2 d Padres 0 at Tropicana Field

Final Thoughts: The Best of the Day preview breaks down the San Diego Padres’ first MLB meeting with the Tampa Bay Rays in three years.

The 69-50 Rays are flying high in second in the American League East, winning 10 of their last 12 games. They have also won seven straight on the road.

Tampa Bay swept the struggling Mariners in a close-fought three-game series in Seattle last week to bounce back from a two-games-to-one home loss the Blue Jays.

The 55-62 Padres are fourth in the National League West and running out of time to jag a Wild Card spot before the end of the regular season.

They have gone 11-17 since the All-Star Game, but turned things around last week with a 3-1 home series result against division rivals Colorado. It was a much-needed confidence boost after winning just two of 11 games at Petco Stadium in July.

Joey Lucchesi (7-6 this season) will start the series on the mound for the Padres. Diego Castillo gets the ball for the Rays but is expected to only pitch the first couple of innings.

Tampa Bay have won their last seven games against San Diego, sweeping three-game series in 2013 and ’16. The latter saw the Rays rack up 24 runs to three across the three games. But the teams have not met in San Diego since 2004.

The Padres’ form in recent days is encouraging. But the Rays’ excellent showings on the road over the past couple of weeks make them outstanding value as a series-opening underdog.

Tip: Result – Tampa Bay Rays @ $2.08