The Toronto Blue Jays will look to extend their healthy lead atop the American League wild-card standings when they continue their hard-fought series with the talented Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Last night, the Jays reminded those critical of their trade deadline acquisitions that they remain a talented group, without splashy additions. Kevin Gausman was exceptional, going eight scoreless innings. And the Toronto offense came up clutch late, to seal a much needed victory against a pesky divisional rival.
A Gausman gem. pic.twitter.com/SnJ0cFPEBT
— MLB (@MLB) August 3, 2022
Today, the Jays will be hoping for a duplicate pitching masterpiece, this time from struggling left-hander Yusei Kikuchi. The Japanese thrower spent a recent outing at AAA to try and work on his timing and rhythm, and early returns have shown some progress. His last start vs. Detroit was very solid, though it’s how he follows it up which could be the concern for Jays’ fans and bettors. Kikuchi has battled with inconsistency and has also been quite poor away from home. He’ll need to be sharp against a motivated Tampa Bay squad, keen to put up some runs.
Welcome back, Yusei Kikuchi!
His night: 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks 👏 pic.twitter.com/Do65gBKof5
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 29, 2022
Kikuchi will be countered by Tampa Bay’s Jalen Beeks. The youngster has been quite dominant in an opener role for the Rays this season, and with a tough Toronto top-of-the-order awaiting, if Beeks can get through the first few Jays’ batters unscathed, it could set things up very well for his team. It’s believed Ryan Yarbrough will come in after Beeks leaves the game.
Kevin Cash says LHP Jalen Beeks will open Wednesday against Toronto, with LHP Ryan Yarbrough scheduled for bulk work. #Rays
— Steve Carney (@stevecarney) August 3, 2022
With both squads refining their games and loading up for a key post-season push, it should make Wednesday’s series finale clash all the more exciting – especially as this could be a best-of-three wild-card series preview come October! For added insight, the latest news, trends, and analysis, continue reading on beneath the posted odds for our breakdown and betting prediction for this pivotal matchup between these American League rivals. Enjoy the game, folks!
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Live Odds & Betting History
Betting odds provided by BOVADA
|RUN LINE||-1.5 (+155)||+1.5 (-175)|
|TOTAL||Over 8 (-110)||Under 8 (-110)|
|TEAM DATA||BLUE JAYS||RAYS|
|Runs Per Game||4.8||4.1|
|Runs Allowed Per Game||4.2||3.9|
|Team Batting Average||.263||.234|
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Prediction:
Expect the Blue Jays to be able to carry on and continue their dominance on Wednesday afternoon. While much of that comes down to the play of Yusei Kikuchi, it’s also worth noting that their bullpen enters this start fully rested and ready to help out, if called upon.
But expect Kikuchi to have turned a corner. He has been in control and missing bats his last two outings, including one of those in AAA Buffalo. Kikuchi has always had the stuff, but has battled with pitch selection and confidence this season. With Danny Janssen as Toronto’s catcher behind the plate, Kikuchi has been quite good at times. It’s also worth noting that Tampa’s offense is badly banged up right now – missing out on all of Wander Franco, Kevin Kiermaier, Harold Ramirez, and catcher Mike Zunino. Those are huge holes to their already limited offense, and though they did secure David Peralta and Jose Siri at the deadline, the lefty Kikuchi should stay in control on Wednesday.
Really liked how Danny Jansen shepherded Kikuchi through last night’s start.
He had very basic targets for fastballs & was emphatic about where he wanted the slider at times (see below – and he deked sometimes to avoid tipping).
Jays now 16-7 when Jansen starts at C. pic.twitter.com/cO02pSeDVT
— Chris Black (@DownToBlack) July 29, 2022
On the Rays’ pitching side, look for Jalen Beeks to get Tampa Bay off to a good start, but Ryan Yarbrough doesn’t inspire too much confidence beyond that. Yarbrough boasts a sky-high ERA, currently entering Wednesday with a 5.11 mark in games he has started. Toronto is familiar with him and has gotten to him earlier this season. The Toronto offense is as hot as it gets in baseball right now, and under new manager John Schneider, have also been more aggressive on the base paths, and in hit and run situations. Look for that to continue in this series finale.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) May 24, 2021
That’s Teoscar Hernandez’s 5th home run against Ryan Yarbrough in 32 PA.
Unlike most Blue Jays hitters, he knows exactly how to handle him. pic.twitter.com/lWjzpc5yob
— Nick Ashbourne (@NickAshbourne) June 30, 2022
And though the Rays might feel inspired about facing a wildy inconsistent Yusei Kikuchi, they’ve already been shut down by him earlier this season. Back in June, Kikuchi went six strong innings, conceding only one earned run. This Tampa offense is simply decimated right now, and struggling with power and getting runners on. They have scored just eleven runs over their past five games, and don’t count on this changing anytime soon.
— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) July 30, 2022
Jays vs. Rays Trends To Know:
- Blue Jays are 4-0 in their last 4 after allowing 2 runs or less in their previous game.
- Blue Jays are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. American League East.
- Blue Jays are 4-0 in their last 4 road games.
- Blue Jays are 13-3 in their last 16 overall.
- Rays are 2-8 in their last 10 overall.
- Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. American League East.
- Rays are 0-4 in their last 4 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
Though the Blue Jays have historically struggled at Tropicana Field, the timing of this crucial series for the Rays hasn’t been great. They’re severely hindered by injuries at the moment, and their depleted offense seems ill-equipped of generating any runs. It should be a comfortable start for an improving Yusei Kikuchi, and at a pick’em price, with a red-hot offense, look for the Blue Jays to complete an important sweep in Tampa Bay. Toronto represents big moneyline value on Wednesday afternoon.