Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays MLB Pick – August 21, 2020

    Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 5.23 ERA) vs. Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 4.13 ERA)

The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays get a four-game series started at the Trop on Friday evening in Tampa. The Rays are coming off a monster series over the New York Yankees. They were three-time winners at Yankee Stadium to get the sweep over the dangerous Yankees.

The Yankees are banged up right now and the Rays took full advantage of that. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu are all on the IL. The good news is that the Yankees are hopeful that Judge can return soon. Before he was taken out of the lineup, Judge was swinging a hot bat.

Stanton and Judge on the IL is nothing new. No one is surprised to see both of them on the shelf together. It has to be frustrating for the Yankees. When they are a fully healthy team, the Yankees are a tough unit to beat. However, the standings don’t take that into account, and as a result of getting swept, the Rays have a lead in the AL East.

The Rays head into Friday with a half game advantage on the Yankees. They have a record of 17-9 as opposed to 16-9 for the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees must get healthier, it’s as simple as that. That said, the Rays are a formidable opponent who are on a five-game winning streak. They are winners in 10 of their previous 11 games and one of the hottest teams in the majors.

If you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t know that much, though. The media is fixated on Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres right now. Nothing wrong with recognizing a red-hot player, but the Padres are a 15-12 team that might not even reach the postseason. There are other clubs out there that are playing better baseball than the Padres, so let’s give them some recognition.

The Blue Jays are coming off a wild day on Thursday with a 3-2 and 9-8 win over the Phillies. They rallied from 7 runs down to edge out the Phils in an entertaining affair. Hopefully the bullpen saved something in the tank for this weekend. Matt Shoemaker is scheduled to get the starting nod for the Jays, while Ryan Yarbrough gets the greenlight for the Rays. Head below for our free Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays pick for August 21, 2020.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays MLB Baseball Betting Odds:

Spread:

  • Blue Jays +1.5 (-138)
  • Rays -1.5 (+118)
Moneyline:

  • Blue Jays (+143)
  • Rays (-155)
Total Points:

  • Over 8.5 (-122)
  • Under 8.5 (+102)

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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Prediction:

The biggest concern for the Blue Jays in this series has to be their bullpen. After having to pitch for 8 innings yesterday, it could be an issue for the Jays on Friday night. Trent Thornton didn’t last an inning yesterday, as the Phillies put 7 runs up in the top of the 1st inning.

It looked like the game was going to be a run away win for the Phillies, but things got a bit wild. Kudos to the Jays’ relievers for not allowing things to get out of reach. Matt Shoemaker has not been effective for the Jays in 2020, so they might have to go to the bullpen early on in this contest.

Shoemaker is coming off an ACL tear from last season, and still appears to be bothered by the recovery. He goes into the Trop with an ERA of 5.23 and 1.02 WHIP. Shoemaker has been able to keep runners off base for the most part, though his ability to keep the ball in the park has been brought into question.

Shoemaker has allowed six long balls, which has accounted for most of the damage done against him. When Shoemaker is feeling it, he can be one of the more underrated pitchers in the majors. He’s had to deal with multiple injuries throughout his career, which has been mostly spent with the Angels in Anaheim. An Angels’ pitcher injured? No way, I don’t believe it.

Ryan Yarbrough has been really strong in two starts against the Jays this season. He beat them in both games for a win of 4-1 and 3-2. The Jays didn’t score a run on Yarbrough in both games across 8.1 innings of work. Besides two poor starts against the Red Sox, Yarbrough has been in good form this season.

Shoemaker has to go deep in this game for the Jays to have success. Their bullpen has to be feeling a bit weary after a double header, one of which they were out there for 8.1 innings. Expect the Jays to keep things close early, with the Rays pulling ahead against a tired bullpen on Friday at the Trop.

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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.