Rays vs. Blue Jays, Sept. 15
The most meaningful game on today’s slate is here, so we’re running back to this matchup. The Blue Jays are streaking and have climbed their way back into playoff contention. This young lineup is tearing the cover off the ball this season and has been a top five offense throughout the season. Complimented by a rotational mix of veteran and hungry young arms, it is no surprise that the Jays have made a statement this season and are knocking on the door of the postseason. The Rays are the definition of a hard-working team that was built from the ground up with no huge named stars currently on the active roster. They have dealt with some adversity as their top starter, Tyler Glasnow went down earlier this season and is out for the remainder of the year. What does this team do? They go out and lead the AL in wins and have had a hold on the divisional lead for months on end. This Rays team has no quit, but can they string some wins together to go into the playoffs with some solid momentum? Can the Blue Jays continue their hot streak and ride it to a postseason berth?
Call them old reliable, the Rays have been one of the few teams that you can count on to come through for you this season. They hold the edge in the season series with the Jays, but that window is quickly closing as it is down to only a two-game advantage in the season series as the Jays took game one of this set. Tampa sits at 5-7 for the month of September. Some regression is expected after a solid season but keep an eye on the rays down the stretch. The Rays are sending Michael Wacha to the hill for today’s game. He has been just alright this season so far for the Rays, posting a losing record at 3-4, but Tampa does have a winning record in games that he started going 12-8. Wacha has pitched some of his best games over his last three starts. He has only allowed a combined four runs and has struck out 19 batters. He has given up three homers in those three starts but the Rays are 2-1 over those games. Wacha really has not seen much of Toronto this season; he only pitched two innings against the Jays in an opener role, where he gave up a hit across two innings. If Wacha keeps up how he has been pitching then we should be in for a close game, but anything else and this one could be out of hand early.
The Jays need wins, plain and simple. The Yankees, who are a game behind the Jays, have the talent to turn around their slump at a moment’s notice. So, if this team is serious about making the postseason and making a run in the playoffs, they are going to need to stack wins against teams like the Rays. They continued their momentum taking game one of the series, and the Rays offense has been sluggish, and this could be exactly the recipe the Jays need to springboard into the playoffs. Today they send Robbie Ray to the hill. Ray has been extremely effective over his last 15 starts as he has only allowed three or more runs in three of those last 15 starts. Ray has been pouring on the strikeouts lately. The dynamic lefty has eight or more strikeouts in each of his last six starts and has 61 total Ks in his last six combined. The Jays will likely get a lot of innings from Ray as he regularly goes six or seven innings into his starts, so if he’s on, look for it to be a long afternoon for the Rays. Ray has seen Tampa twice this season where in both games the Jays took the loss, but Ray pitched very well, only allowing a combined three runs and striking out 13.
Rays vs Blue Jays: The Pick
This matchup is great and is going to be another fantastic game. The way Ray has been pitching cannot be ignored. Those strikeout numbers are eye popping. With the way the Rays bats have been struggling and the Rays pitching woes, the Rays team total under 4.5 runs is the pick here.