The Tampa Bay Rays (89-55, 44-29 away) battle the Toronto Blue Jays (81-63, 40-29 home) in game two of a three-game series between the top two teams in the American League East division. The Blue Jays routed the Rays in the opener Monday night, 8-1.
The first pitch of Tuesday’s contest is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Toronto (-130) is favored in the game, and the total run over-under is set at 9.
What to Know – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are well on their way to returning to the postseason with the best record in the AL. With under a month to go in the regular season, Tampa owns an eight-game advantage over the Blue Jays in the division.
Right-hander Drew Rasmussen (2-1, 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) is expected to start for Tampa Bay. The 26-year old worked out of the bullpen to begin the season but moved to a starting role over the last month. Rasmussen fired five innings, allowing one earned run on six hits with a pair of strikeouts to lock up his second victory in his previous outing against the Red Sox.
Tampa Bay averages 5.4 runs per game and ranks 13th in the majors in on-base percentage (.319) and 7th in slugging percentage (.427). After a slow start at the plate to begin the season, second baseman Brandon Lowe flipped a switch and leads the offense in home runs (33) and second in runs driven in (84). Designated hitter Austin Meadows has already driven in a career-high 99 RBIs this season.
What to Know – Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto is in the thick of a heated playoff run for one of the two AL wild-card spots. The Blue Jays have a one-game advantage over the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, with the Seattle Mariners sitting two games behind. Once a longshot for the postseason, a 9-1 run over their last ten contests has put the Blue Jays in prime position to punch their ticket to the playoffs.
The expected starter for the hosts is right-hander Jose Berrios (11-7, 3.52 ERA, 1.11 WHIP). Berrios has been solid for Toronto since coming over from Minnesota at the trade deadline. The 27-year old aims for his fourth win in a row when he toes the rubber Tuesday night.
The Blue Jays lineup is one of the best in the majors, scoring 5.3 runs per game and ranking second in on-base (.341) and first in slugging percentage (.467). DH Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads the majors with 45 home runs and is tied for third with 103 RBIs. Second baseman Marcus Semien has had a career season at the plate, setting career-highs in home runs (39) and RBIs (94).
The Pick is In
We are going to stay away from picking sides in this one and focus on the offenses. Both lineups can score runs, and the Rays are going to plate more than one run in this one. Expect the run total to eclipse double digits here.
Betting Pick: Over 9