Tampa Bay Rays (60-61) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (57-62)
MLB Baseball: Thursday, August 17th, 4:07 pm EST
Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84 ERA) vs. Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69 ERA)
Line: Tampa Bay -160
The Rays are in Toronto for the fourth and final game of the series on Thursday night. The Rays opened with a 2-1 win on Monday, but the Blue Jays came back and took the second game on Tuesday by a score of 6-4. This is a big series for both teams as they are still in the running for the wild card despite both being below .500. It’s been that type of year in the American League.
Currently, the second and all important wild card is being held by the Angels who are only two games over .500. That means the Rays are only 1.5 games out, and despite being in last place almost the whole year, the Blue Jays are only 3.5 games out of the playoffs. And we know they would be different if they somehow snuck in.
Archer has been better, but not great
Chris Archer gets the call for the Rays on Thursday, and while he has been better this year, he certainly hasn’t lived up to how he pitched two years ago. He comes into Thursday’s contest with an 8-7 record and an ERA of 3.84. His WHIP is 1.24 and batters are hitting .242 against him. These are all solid numbers, but some people saw Archer as a burgeoning star, and that doesn’t look to be the case.
Lately, he’s been his usual solid, but not spectacular self. Over his last three starts, he’s given up eight earned runs, going 1-1 with one no decision. That seems pretty par for the course this year for Archer. He has struck out 197 batters in only 159 innings, so you know he still has great stuff, he just needs to put it all together now.
Rowley makes second start
Chris Rowley will be making his second career start, and he’d be happy if it lives up to his first. He was thrown out there in mid-August with his team amazingly still in playoff contention and he pitched very well. He went 5.1 innings, gave up five hits, and only one earned run and took down the win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The right hander is a tall, skinny 27-year-old, so it’s not like he’s some hot prospect just getting thrown in to see what he can do. He only struck out three batters in his opener, but he countered that by only walking one guy. Let’s see how he does against a very pedestrian Ray’s lineup.
The Tampa Bay Rays are:
- 1-4 in their last 5 games on astroturf.
- 2-6 in their last 8 vs. American League East.
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 5-1 in their last 6 during game 4 of a series.
- 4-0 in their last 4 Thursday games.
- 4-1 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter.
Chris Rowley was very impressive in his first ever start, and why not go with him right back in a situation where he’s a big underdog. Let’s go with an underdog Blue Jay team at home.