The Major League Baseball schedule is packed today, as for the first time in nearly two weeks, all 30 teams will be in action. The Cardinals make their long-awaited return today against the Chicago White Sox with a scheduled double-header, and the Royals and Twins are scheduled for a double-dip today as well.
There are several headlining games on the slate, including games between the Braves and Marlins with first place in the NL East on the line, an NL Central battle between the Brewers and the Cubs, and classic rivalry games between the Padres and Dodgers, and the Yankees and the Red Sox. For our daily betting pick, we will head to Buffalo, where the Toronto Blue Jays host the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay Rays (12-9) at Toronto Blue Jays (7-9)
The Toronto Blue Jays will host the Tampa Bay Rays tonight in game two of a three-game series, hoping that their bats can stay hot. The Blue Jays are forced to play their home games in Buffalo, the home of their triple-A affiliate team, as the Toronto government decided to restrict the Jays from playing in their home ballpark this season due to Corona Virus fears. In three games in their new home away from home, the Jays have exploded for 28 runs.
For Tampa Bay, the Rays were on the receiving end of the Blue Jays run explosion last night when they got smashed for 12 runs in the game one loss. The loss snapped the Rays six-game winning streak, where they had broken out their own bats, scoring 51 runs during the six games. Tampa Bay has won eight out of their last eleven games and are now tied with the Baltimore Orioles for second place in the AL East Division.
Starting tonight for the Rays is Ryan Yarbrough (0-2 4.71 ERA), and for the Blue Jays, it is Chase Anderson (0-0 3.00 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eleven runs. The Rays are -135 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 3:37 PM PST from Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York.
Tampa Bay Rays
We knew coming into this season that the Tampa Bay Rays were going to be able to pitch. Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell, and Charlie Morton are all former Cy Young Award contenders or winners, and the Tampa Bay bullpen has always been great. And last night’s beating aside, the Rays have been solid on the mound. The one major issue most expected Tampa Bay to have this year, is at the plate, as they just don’t have many established sluggers.
In late July and early August, the Rays had a seven-game stretch where they scored one run or less in four of seven games. It looked like all of the concerns about the Rays bats were proving to be true, and that Tampa Bay would have to basically shut teams out to win games this year.
But the Rays have seemingly found their stride as of late, as they are hammering the baseball, and turned things around after a slow start. After looking anemic at the plate for much of the year, this recent burst has the Rays as the second highest-scoring team in the majors right now.
Ryan Yarbrough (0-2 4.71 ERA)
Ryan Yarbrough pitched really well in his first two starts of the season, shutting down the Blue Jays and the Braves to the tune of 11.2 innings pitched and allowing just two earned runs on only six hits while striking out seven. But in his last two starts, both coming against the Boston Red Sox, Yarbrough has really struggled, as he got blasted for nine earned runs, allowing three home runs in the two starts.
When you look back on last year, the trend of him being either hot or cold on the mound has been one that Yarbrough has become known for. Yarbrough split his time between the rotation and the bullpen last year for Tampa Bay, and in 15 of his 28 appearances allowed one run or less. But he got rocked for five runs or more in seven other appearances. Will he be unhittable, or will he get blown out? You could flip a coin, I guess, as this kid is very hard to nail down.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are homeless this year after getting the boot from Toronto, but they seem to be enjoying their new home just fine. The Jays are 2-1 in Buffalo and have seen their bats finally wake up after being awful at the plate to start the season. One guy, in particular, that is loving the new digs, is budding superstar Bo Bichette.
Bichette has homered in each of the Jays three-games in Buffalo and set a new franchise record last night when he homered in his fourth consecutive game. Bichette has an eight-game hitting streak going that has seen him pile up 15 hits, 11 RBI, and 5 home runs. On the year, Bichette has hit safely in all but one game and his .356 batting average is tops on the team.
Chase Anderson (0-0 3.00 ERA)
The Blue Jays made it clear they were all-in on winning now, when they brought in a bunch of veteran starting pitchers in the offseason, to surround their young core of talent. Toronto brought in Hyun-jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, and tonight’s starter Chase Anderson, to address their biggest needs, starting pitching and experience.
Anderson spent the last four seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, where he went back and forth between being a fringe All-Star and being replacement level. Anderson is a soft tosser that doesn’t strike out too many guys and walks more than he should. He has seen his ERA rise in each of the last two seasons, and at age 32, he may be on the downswing of his career.
Who Do I Like?
Guess how many home runs have been hit in Buffalo in the three games that have been played there this season? Did you guess five? Ten? How about fifteen? Nope. There have been an absurd eighteen balls that have left the park in three games played at Sahlen Field. Those are numbers that make Coors Feld in Colorado look like Ebbets Field and their famed 477-foot center field fence.
The ball just won’t stay in the park, and you have to wonder if this is going to be a trend all season long? The Blue Jays have ample power, and when you look at some of the teams on their schedule the rest of the way out, teams like the Phillies, Yankees, and Braves, the visiting teams are going to hit their fair share of balls out of play as well. Can anybody say take the over?
Both of these teams come into this game hitting better than they have all season. Throw in the fact that this ballpark is playing like a little league park right now, and I expect a lot of runs going up on the board tonight. I very rarely ever make a play on the over for the Rays, as they usually can’t be trusted, but right now, I see them scoring a bunch of runs and this game coasting to the over.
The books have adjusted the total in this game to eleven runs, a total usually reserved only for Colorado, but we have seen an average of nearly seventeen runs a game scored here this weekend, and I see that trend continuing tonight. So, while eleven is high, it might not be nearly high enough.
I will make a double pick in this one, as I want the Rays as small favorites, and I want the over eleven runs. The Jays drew first blood last night, and I see Tampa Bay getting revenge tonight, and blasting a lot of balls into the stands in the process. Give me the Rays -135 and the over 11 runs tonight from Buffalo!