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While this matchup features two of the AL’s top teams, it also features a very lopsided pitching matchup. The Rays will be going with one of baseball's top starters, while the Blue Jays will have an erratic veteran on the bump. Considering that Tampa’s offense has been the best in baseball, they will be able to cover this run line without issue tonight.
The Blue Jays (26-23) exploded for 20 runs against Tampa last night, breaking a five-game losing streak. It has been ugly close to the month of May, as they lost seven of their last ten games. They’ve had a tough schedule (Yankees, Orioles, Rays), but their opponents are all AL powerhouses that Toronto will need to beat. Their recent offensive struggles and performance against other top AL teams have us running to bet against them tonight.
Toronto will have Yusei Kikuchi (5-1, 4.08) on the mound tonight. His record is impressive, but his numbers have taken a dive in May. He owns a 5.59 ERA over four May starts, only one of which resulted in a quality start. In his last two starts alone, he has allowed a combined seven earned runs, four home runs, and 12 hits over 8 ⅔ innings. Kikuchi was sharp against the Rays last month but looks like a far different pitcher in May. We expect his struggles to continue tonight, making the Rays' run line an easy cover.
Though they exploded last night, things have not been going well for the Toronto offense. Before the 20-run performance, they were averaging 3.7 runs over their previous ten games. They have the talent, but they have struggled against elite pitching all season. We expect their struggles to quickly re-emerge against one of the best starters in the league tonight.
The Rays (35-15) have faltered a bit in May, but they have played the Yankees (twice), Orioles, Mets, Brewers, and now Toronto. Those are all teams that will have an excellent chance to make the playoffs, making their losses much more understandable. Tampa was scorched for 20 runs last night, far and away the most they have surrendered this season. The Rays rarely string back-to-back poor offensive showings, meaning they should be in store for a big night tonight.
Shane McClanahan (7-0, 2.05) has been the best pitcher in baseball this season. He was great in 2022 (2.54 ERA) but looks even better in his third season. He has been on fire in May, posting a 1.96 ERA over four starts. Now he’ll be up against a Toronto team he dominated last month, giving up four hits and one run over six innings. We can’t find any reason that won’t be the case again tonight.
The Rays' offense has been incredible in 2023. They are among the top two teams in the league in batting average (.271 ERA), home runs (94), RBIs (284), hits (450), and stolen bases (53). That shows how many ways this team can beat you, which will be a big problem for Toronto tonight. Watch out for Wander Franco, who owns a .444 batting average against Kikuchi. The Rays don’t put up offensive duds often, so we expect a significant correction to come tonight.
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Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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