Toronto Blue Jays' Marcus Semien, center, celebrates with Randal Grichuk (15) and George Springer
Toronto Blue Jays' Marcus Semien, center, celebrates with Randal Grichuk (15) and George Springer (4) after Semien scored all three of them on a three-run home run off Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Tanner Scott during the seventh inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Rays vs. Blue Jays, Sept. 14

The Blue birds are flying high and have forced their way back into the playoff picture after posting a scorching hot 9-1 stretch. They get their toughest test yet with the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa has played .500 ball lately but is still firmly atop the AL East. Tampa has controlled this head-to-head series, but with the playoffs in sight for the Jays and the way both teams have been playing, it could be time for the Blue Jays to even the score. Can the Jays continue to light the baseball world on fire and show that they are legit contenders and can beat a playoff bound team? Will the Rays be able to snap out of their .500 slump and show why they have been at the top of the division almost the entire season?

Turn Up Time: Tampa
If the roles were reversed here, I would be a little more concerned. For the Rays, it is not a matter of if they will get into the playoffs; it’s more of a waiting period for them to start, so playing .500 baseball is not overly concerning. Now this is not to say it’s productive for any team to head into the postseason playing some of their worst ball of the season, but average would be an alright place for the Rays who will await the winner of the wildcard. Today, Rasmussen takes the hill for the Rays, and good things have happened when he’s on the hill. The Rays are 5-2 in Rasmussen’s starts and his stats show why he has only allowed one run in all but one of his starts this season. The Rays are also 4-0 against the AL East in his starts. Rasmussen has not pitched against the Jays this season, and his one run streak could be in jeopardy here with the way this offense is swinging the bats right now. The way things are shaping up, this is going to be a great game and a great test for both teams. 

 Blue Birds Time to Shine: Blue Jays
How about these Jays? It wasn’t too long ago when they were struggling and were almost forcing themselves out of the playoff picture, but it just shows how a great stretch of games can change things. Now they find themselves in the middle of the wildcard race once again. Toronto is sitting in a tie with Boston for one of the two wildcard spots with the slumping Yankees only a half game back. Berrios takes the hill for the Jays, and it’s been a mixed bag with him on the hill. The Jays have gone 15-13 in his starts this season, but they have won his last three. Berrios went on a little bit of a losing streak prior to this three-game run where the Jays lost six of his seven starts, including four in a row. Berrios has not seen the Rays this season, but he is pitching like his all-star self at the moment, so if there was a time where you wanted him to face a dangerous team like the Rays, the time is now. His strikeout numbers are the highest they have been throughout the season over his last three starts with 26 combined strikeouts. Berrios might not pile up eight strikeouts in this one, but he certainly could pitch well enough to get the job done here for the Jays. 

 Tampa vs. Blue Jays: The Pick
There is no team hotter in baseball than the Jays right now and while the Rays have slightly had their number this season it is only by one series. If there is one thing you don’t do in baseball, it is bet against a hot team, so we’re going to side with the Jays here and take the hot bats and the more proven guy in Berrios. The play here is the Jays money line.

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