The Tampa Bay Rays collide with the Toronto Blue Jays in an AL East showdown on Wednesday afternoon from the Rogers Centre. The Rays start Michael Wacha who is enjoying his best stretch of the season on the mound. Robbie Ray is looking to rebound from a subpar outing for Toronto. The Rays lead the season series 8-7 after dealing the Blue Jays a 2-0 defeat on Tuesday.
Wacha Finds A Groove, Rays Continue Long Road Trip
Manager Kevin Cash will have Michael Wacha take the mound for the 26th time of the season. Wacha was outstanding in his latest effort, holding the Tigers to only one run in five innings but received no help from the offense and finished with the no-decision in a game Tampa Bay lost. The veteran right-hander has been stellar in three consecutive starts but still owns a 5.37 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP to go with a 3-4 record in 105.2 innings pitched. He has tossed two shutout innings against the Blue Jays this season and has conceded just two runs in eight career frames.
Tampa Bay continues a nine-game road trip. They stand at 3-4 through the first seven bouts after losing a three-game series against the Tigers. The Rays have the division won, holding a large nine-game lead ahead of second-place Toronto. Wander Franco has landed on the IL.
Austin Meadows is going to eclipse the 100 RBI mark. The 26-year old slugger has 25 homers with 99 RBI’s and a .770 OPS. He has been held at bay against the Blue Jays, filing a .200 average but he does have eight RBI’s against the rivals. Meadows has driven in six runs this month.
The Rays lead the Majors with 5.39 runs per game. The pitching staff enters with a 3.84 team ERA, landing them eighth overall.
Ray Seeks Rebound, Blue Jays Bats Dazzle
The Jays will have Robbie Ray on the mound in the series finale. Ray wasn’t quite at his best in his previous start but was still able to keep the Orioles in check, giving up three runs including two home runs in 5.1 innings, and finished with the no-decision in a clash Blue Jays lost. The veteran left-hander has put himself in the Cy Young conversation, registering a dazzling 2.69 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP complemented by an 11-5 record in 170.1 innings of action. Ray has silenced Tampa Bay this season, posting a 2.00 ERA in four starts, and is 3-1 with a 4.24 ERA in six career meetings against the division foes.
Toronto was about five games out of the Wildcard a few weeks ago and has rallied into the wild card lead. They swept the A’s and Yankees on their way up the standings. The offense is incredible and they lead the bigs in all offensive categories this month. The starting pitching has been effective recently and they have won five straight home games including an 8-1 win on Monday.
Teoscar Hernandez is the second Blue Jays player to join the 100 RBI club. The 28-year old has accumulated a remarkable 16 RBI’s and a 1.1 OPS in September and is up to 27 big flies, 102 RBI’s, and a stellar .892 OPS. He has delivered with a .383 average and five RBI’s against TB this season.
The Blue Jays rank third in the bigs with 5.31 runs on the season. The pitching staff has recorded a 3.87 team ERA, good for 11th overall.
The Tampa Bay Rays are:
- 1-4 in their last 5 road games.
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 4-1 in Ray's last 5 home starts.
- 17-5 in their last 22 games overall.
- 5-0 in their last 5 home games against a starter with a WHIP above 1.30.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Blue Jays are the hottest team in the game, sporting a sparkling 12-2 record in their last 14 games overall including a decisive 8-1 win against the Rays in the series opener. The Rays lost a series in Detroit last weekend and have dropped four out of their last six games. They have all but won the AL East while Toronto is fighting with the Red Sox and Yankees in the wild card.
Furthermore, this pitching matchup heavily favors Toronto. Robbie Ray has now limited his opponent to two or fewer runs in eight out of his last nine starts. Rays’ starter Michael Wacha has posted an abysmal 6.28 ERA on the road and the Jays’ bats are clicking at the plate.
Full-Game Total Pick
I am opting for the under in this one. Cy Young candidate Robbie Ray has shut down the Rays this season, recording a dazzling 2.00 ERA in four meetings. He also features a stifling 2.35 ERA at home including 40.2 innings at the Rogers Centre. The under is 5-0 in Ray’s last five home starts against a team with a winning record.
In addition, while I definitely expect enough runs against Wacha to win this game, he has found a groove lately, allowing just four runs in his last three starts spread across 15.1 innings. The under is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings between these rivals.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The Blue Jays scoring barrage should resume on Wednesday. Wacha struggles on the road and the Rays have been squandering more runs recently, allowing five or more runs in six out of their last nine games overall. Toronto has averaged 8 runs in their last ten bouts.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
I am opting for the over on the three-inning total. Michael Wacha owns a 5.40 ERA in the first and a 6.75 ERA in the third frame. The Blue Jays are most productive in innings 1-3 where they have 283 runs. The Rays have a solid 235 runs in that span.