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The Toronto Blue Jays will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of a four-game series. Tampa won the first game 6-4, but Toronto shot back in the second game and won 20-1 (the first 20-run game of the season). However, the Rays did not let that 19-run loss go to their head and won the third game 7-3.
The Blue Jays are tied for fourth place in the AL East with a 26-24 record. They could move into third with a win and a Boston Red Sox loss. On the other side, the Rays are first in the AL East and the best team in baseball with their 36-15 record. They would increase their lead with a win, but a loss would not be too damaging. Tampa would still have a two or 2.5-game lead if they lose today.
The Blue Jays’ lineup is one of the better ones in baseball. They are averaging 4.82 runs per game and have six players (Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Whit Merrifield, and Kevin Kiermaier) that are threats at the plate. Bichette is the best player in this group and has an absurd 70 hits this season, but the other five have also all held their own. It is also worth noting that Matt Chapman may be having the best season of his career at the plate and leads the team in on-base percentage at .379.
Alek Manoah will take the hill for the Bue Jays. Manoah was an animal last season and finished with a 2.24 ERA but has not been able to return to form this season. The righty comes into this game with a 1-4 record, 5.15 ERA, and 1.74 WHIP. He faced the Rays in mid-April and gave up seven earned runs on nine hits in 4⅔ innings. Obviously, that was his worst start of the season, but I still would not expect him to return to the All-Star game this year. He will run into trouble his third time around the lineup today.
The Rays have one of the best lineups in baseball. They are averaging nearly six runs per game and have a deep lineup. Tampa has six hitters with 20 or more RBIs and has six-seven dangerous hitters in their lineup on any given day. Opposing pitchers rarely catch a break with the Rays’ bevy of hitters.
Zach Eflin is getting the nod for the Rays. Eflin is not the ace on this pitching staff, but he is having a great season. He struggled last year in Philadelphia but has turned it around this year. The 29-year-old comes into this with a 6-1 record, 3.45 ERA, and 1.00 WHIP. Eflin was not pitching particularly deep into games in April but is averaging 6.5 innings a start in May. Make no mistake, Eflin is not excelling on the mound this season. However, he is providing consistent innings and is a competitor. He will get his seventh win today.
The Rays have a better starter and are playing significantly better baseball, so I would bet on them to win at home.
The over/under for this game is placed at 8.5 runs. This is very accurate over/under, and I am going to recommend betting on the over. The Rays’ offense is hot, and the Blue Jays will provide a couple of runs, so the over is the better bet.
The Blue Jays will score three runs today. Two of those runs will come off Zach Eflin. Eflin gave up three earned in his previous start and four earned runs in his two starts. The Rays almost always win when he pitches, but he is not dominating games. That said, the Rays’ bullpen will not allow Toronto to score any additional runs. Tampa’s bullpen has struggled a bit this year but will only be in the game for two or three innings. They will not give up a run in that time.
The Rays will score six runs today. Four of those runs will come off Alek Manoah. Manoah has the ability to be a top-tier pitcher but is not performing like one right now. He will have a better outing than his first one against Tampa but will still give up four runs. The Blue Jays’ bullpen will also give up two runs. Toronto’s bullpen has an ERA above four and will see some of the toughest hitters in baseball. That will result in two additional runs.
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays
26-24 (4rd in AL West)
36-15 (1st in AL East)
Bo Bichette (.327)
Yandy Diaz (.322)
Bo Bichette (9)
Randy Arozarena, Yandy Diaz, Brandon Lowe (11)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (34)
Randy Arozarena (37)
Matt Chapman (.379)
Yandy Diaz (.425)
Bo Bichette (70)
Wander Franco (56)
Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi (5)
Shane McClanahan (8)
Chris Bassitt (3.03)
Shane McClanahan (1.97)
Kevin Gausman (81)
Shane McClanahan (75)
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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