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Rays vs. Blue Jays Pick – MLB April 14th

The Toronto Blue Jays open the season again this year with plenty of fanfare and expectations. It has been years and years since the Jays have found a playoff spot, and with the kind of lineup they have had, it is pretty inexcusable. I see the offense being there for the Blue Jays this season again, but the pitching is going to have to be able to perform. The difference between the postseason and not making the postseason is going to be R.A. Dickey. If Dickey can do what he was brought to Toronto to do then the Blue Jays should be in, but he is going to need a strong season. Their playoff chances should be tight come the end of the season, so the extra wins from Dickey are going to be important. Question being is will he be able to do that. I know the offense is going to be there, or at least it should be, but the pitching leaves a lot to be desired. They’ve been erratic and a little bit all over the place thus far this season with a 4-3 start. In one instance they blast the Orioles and beat the Yankees, and then in another they get the same treatment themselves as the Orioles smash them. Their latest was a hard loss, 2-1, against the Rays. Today they look to make it back with Daniel Norris commanding the mound.

The Rays will respond with a pitcher making his first major league start. Matt Andriese gets the start after years pitching in the minors. It goes one of two ways for pitchers getting their first starts, they either get bombed or pitch brilliantly. Andriese is 25 years old, so he has been around in the minor league system for a while now. In his most recent season in AAA, Andriese pitched well enough for a 3.77 ERA. I can’t say that the Rays are exactly thrilled about that, but with injuries their hand is being forced. Matt Moore is out along with Alex Cobb who are both important parts to the rotation. The Rays have to hope Andriese can compensate for that loss in some way. What would be nice is a couple of nice starts here and there. However, I don’t think they can expect much out of him. He is what he is, a minor league lifer.

Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays

Matt Andriese (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (0-0, 4.76 ERA)

Daniel Norris is another minor leaguer that has been around for a considerable amount of time for that matter. Norris has spent time in A and AA ball before being assigned to AAA last season in Buffalo. In Buffalo Norris went for an ERA of 3.18, which was enough to get a call from the Blue Jays to start this season. Norris already has a start under his belt, and his trying to find a permanent spot in the rotation. I am fairly certain he will be back in the minors before seasons end. If the Blue Jays need to rely on Daniel Norris as a regular in the rotation they could be in trouble. Marcus Stroman, who should be getting the start in this spot is on the 60 day-DL, so buckle up Blue Jays’ fans.

Norris, a lefty, got hit for a 4.76 ERA in his opening start of the year. He wasn’t awful if you go by 3 runs allowed, but a consistent 4.76 and 1.41 WHIP will be tough to swallow if that is the kind of production the Jays will get from Norris. I think he’ll have good starts and very poor starts. What we have in this game is two minor leaguers that probably should have no business starting tonight. As a result of injuries, the Rays and Jays are having to look at the minors for some rotation relief. Cobb, Moore, and Smyly are all gone for the Rays who should all be in the rotation right now. Tricky situation for them, and one that the Blue Jays’ bets should be able to take advantage of today. The total opened at 8.5 and quickly went to 9. I am going to jump on the OVER at 9 tonight in Toronto.

PICK: OVER 9 RUNS (+106)