The Toronto Blue Jays (84-66, 41-35 away) and the Tampa Bay Rays (93-58, 48-28 home) meet up for game two of a three-game series Tuesday night in Florida. The Rays used a three-run fifth inning to take down the Blue Jays in the opener.
Tuesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EST inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. According to oddsmakers, the Rays are a slight favorite (-115), and the total over-under is at eight runs.
What to Know – Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto sits in the final spot of the American League wild-card but holds a slim half-game lead over the New York Yankees. The Blue Jays have won seven of their last ten contests with under two weeks to play. According to the playoff predictor, The Blue Jays have a 71.7% chance of making the postseason.
Right-hander Alex Manoah (6-2, 3.39 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) is the expected starter for Toronto. Manoah was brilliant in his last outing against this Rays lineup. The 23-year old rookie fired 8.0 innings, surrendered just one hit, no runs, no walks, and struck out ten.
The Blue Jays have one of the best offenses in baseball, averaging 5.3 runs per game behind a .333 on-base percentage and MLB-best .464 slugging percentage. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. highlights the Toronto offense with 46 home runs, 105 runs driven in, and a major-league-leading .320 batting average. Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez ranks third in the MLB with 107 RBIs.
What to Know – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have the best record in the AL and are close to becoming the first AL team to punch their postseason ticket. In their recent ten contests, Tampa is 5-5 and owns a seven-game lead in the tough AL East division. Tampa has a 99.9% chance of returning to the postseason to defend the AL pennant.
Tampa Bay is penciled to send Drew Rasmussen (3-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) to the hill. Rasmussen has been lights out over his last eight starts, lowering his ERA by 1.17 points. The 26-year old has allowed only eight runs over 41.1 innings of work since mid-July.
The Rays score 5.3 runs per game and have a .318 on-base percentage and .424 slugging percentage. Austin Meadows has driven in 100 runs, and Brandon Lowe has emerged as the Rays’ best power source with a team-high 34 home runs and 85 RBIs. Since joining the lineup in late July, rookie shortstop Wander Franco has looked right at home, batting .285 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs.
The Pick is In
Tuesday’s contest is a pivotal divisional matchup between two teams on the edge of locking up postseason berths. The Rays are a tough out inside the Trop, but the Blue Jays haven’t lost two in a row since the end of August and pick up a huge victory Tuesday night.
Manoah gives the Rays fits again, and Toronto pulls out in front late to keep their wild-card hopes alive.
The Pick: Toronto Blue Jays +105