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Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays MLB Pick – September 4th

Yikes. We got burnt by our third blown save in a little over a week last night when we backed the San Francisco Giants as big underdogs against the Colorado Rockies.  I will be the first to admit, this game didn’t go at all like I thought it would. Madison Bumgarner got pounded for seven runs in five innings, and the Rockies had a 7-2 through five innings.

But as is almost always the case at Coors Field, the bats woke up. The Giants came roaring back and took an 8-7 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning. However improbable as it seemed earlier in the game, we were in line for a major underdog upset win. But alas, the baseball Gods giveth and they taketh away. The Rockies mounted a comeback of their own as they score two runs in the bottom of the eighth and our upset victory was short-lived.

Based on how the game played out we probably didn’t deserve to pick up the win, but it would have been nice to sneak out with a +125 payout. What can you do, Coors Field baseball is pretty much video game baseball and last night’s ending certainly seemed to be a video game style ending. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tampa Bay Rays are in Toronto Tuesday for game two of a three-game series, looking for the series win. The Rays are the hottest team in all of baseball, again, and have won twelve out of their last fourteen games. Despite their huge run, the Rays are still eight games back of the second wild-card in the American League. The Blue Jays are just playing out the stick of what has been a very disappointing season and recently traded former MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Cleveland Indians.

Starting tonight for the Blue Jays is Ryan Borucki (3-3 4.52 ERA) and for the Rays it will be their bullpen by committee starters, with Ryne Stanek (2-3 2.72 ERA) as the opener. The Rays are -115 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PM PST from Rogers Centre in Toronto.

I have no clue how the Tampa Bay Rays are getting things done right now. They have one legit starter at this point, after trading away Chris Archer and Nathan Eovaldi earlier in the year. They have almost zero power as they are twenty-seventh in the majors in home runs. Yet here they are, mowing through the competition in early September, trying desperately to get back into the playoff chase in the AL.

This recent win streak has seen them play against the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Atlanta Braves, all first-place teams, and they are beating them all. A lot of people were quick to criticize this starter by committee the Rays are using, but it is hard to argue with the results. This team is winning a lot of games right now, and the rest of the American League better be paying attention.

There isn’t a lot to say about Ryne Stanek in this one. He is likely going to pitch one or two innings and then turn the game over to the rest of the Tampa Bay bullpen. The very controversial opener role has been one that has suited Stanek and the Rays very well this season.

Ryan Borucki is a much more traditional starter but has really struggled the last month or so. Borucki didn’t join the team until late June and after a solid start has stumbled recently. In six starts in August, Borucki had an ERA of 6.59. In his last five starts, he has allowed at least four earned runs in five of them. To say the rookie left-hander is going through some growing pains would be an understatement right now.

How can you not love what the Tampa Bay Rays are doing right now? They are playing the best teams from both leagues and beating them up and taking their lunch money. Will it be enough to get this team to the playoffs? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been one heck of a fun ride. Had this team not started out 3-12 in March and April they would likely be in one of those two wild-card slots in the AL.

The Rays have been beating up on good teams recently, and I expect that run to continue now that they are playing a bad team. The Jays fans and team must be a little deflated after moving Josh Donaldson last week, and we saw how flat they looked last night, getting blown out 7-1 at home. I expect more of the same tonight.

So, I will jump on this bandwagon tonight and expect the Rays to stay hot as they beat the Jays again. I would expect I am not the only one that likes the Rays in this game as the number has been moving towards them all morning, so jump on it now before it gets too pricey. Give me the Tampa Bay Rays at -115 tonight on the road in Toronto!

The Bet: Tampa Bay Rays -115

PLACE YOUR BET!

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