It all comes down to this.
One hundred and sixty one games played, and the final two playoff berths in MLB will be (possibly) decided today. The Cleveland Indians continued their ridiculous postseason surge and moved a game ahead of the Rangers AND Rays for the final wildcard spot. For them, today is simple. Win and they are IN. For Tampa and Texas it is a little trickier; a win with the other losing sends them to the postseason. A pair of matching losses OR wins and the two will play tomorrow with Game 163 deciding who gets to play in a one-game wildcard to… you get the point. It gets a little messier.
So, will all the drama even be necessary?
There is no Sunday Night ESPN game tonight (for competitive reasons, MLB doesn’t want a late game on the final day of the season), so all picks are for games at 1 or 4pm EST.
Tampa Bay Rays -170 at Toronto Blue Jays +161 (Total: 7.5)
Matt Moore (16-4, 3.23 ERA) vs. Matt Redmond (4-2, 3.77 ERA)
This is the biggest game of the Rays season, and they are glad to be handing the ball to Matt Moore. He is 16-4 on the season and the Rays are a staggering 20-6 in games he started. That comes out to better than a 70% winning percentage, so they have to like their chances today.
However, it won’t be easy. Todd Redmond has been very good of late, going 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP over his last three starts. I expect him to challenge an tightening Rays lineup. They know they’ve let the wildcard slip away a bit, and are likely not real thrilled to have today’s game be so pivotal.
The UNDER is 15-5-1 in Toronto’s last 21 home games. A big reason could be the MASH unit they are running onto the field each day. They have a staggering 13 players on the Disabled List, including Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Colby Rasmus. But the pitching has been decent, and that adds up to a lot of UNDERs.
Matt Moore hasn’t been quite as sharp in his last three outings, posting a 3.75 ERA, but all that damage came in a 4-inning, 5-run start against Texas and the 8th. He should however be fresh, having thrown a total of 12 innings in his last three appearances. Tampa manager Joe Maddon might have been prescient in wanting Moore to have a little extra life in his arm for the postseason.
Well, for the Rays, the postseason starts today. I expect a tight, tense, low-scoring game as the Jays attempt to play spoiler.
Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 7.5