Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick – MLB July 24, 2020

    Hyun-jin Ryu (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Friday is the true Opening Day in Major League Baseball. There are 14 games on the schedule following Opening Night on Thursday. The big news from Thursday was Juan Soto tested positive for the coronavirus, and Clayton Kershaw heading to the IL because of a back injury. The Kershaw news came as a surprise to most folks.

The Dodgers did a good job of keeping everything away from the media. The lack of availability to players for the media makes it a little easier now for clubs to play things close to their vest. As far as Soto is concerned, he had multiple tests return as negative, but there was one positive. That was enough to keep Soto away from the game.

Baseball is underway, but the Blue Jays still don’t have a place to call home. The federal government in Canada blocked the Blue Jays from playing their home games at the Rogers Centre. The local and provincial government in Toronto and Ontario gave the Blue Jays the greenlight, though the federal government stepped in and put an end to that.

Their Plan B was to go to play in Pittsburgh at PNC Park, and initially it looked like that was going to work, but that was shot down in the final stages of negotiations as well. The Blue Jays still don’t have a home ballpark. They may very well be gypsies and play all of their games on the road in 2020. The Blue Jays would still get the bottom inning for games they were supposed to be at home.

Living out of their suitcase is common for a baseball player, but it’s going to be a new extreme if the Blue Jays don’t have a stadium to call home. They will open their season up against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Trop. One of their biggest free agent signings in a while will be in the spotlight in the opener for the Jays. Former Dodger and Hanwha Eagle, Hyun-jin Ryu, gets the call on Opening Day for the Blue Jays.

Ryu signed with the Jays for a 4-year $80 million contract. That’s one piece of the puzzle, but the pitching depth on the Jays leaves a lot to be desired. In any case, in a shortened season with some of the young talent that the Jays have, I wouldn’t write them off so quickly. The Rays, as always, are a fancy pick to win the AL East, but will likely play below expectations yet again. They’ve been everyone’s breakout team for the last five years and nothing has come of it yet. If you keep swinging, you might hit eventually, right? Head below for our free Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays pick for July 24, 2020 in MLB.

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

Spread:

  • Blue Jays +1.5 (-155)
  • Rays -1.5 (+135)
Moneyline:

  • Blue Jays (+139)
  • Rays (-151)
Total Points:

  • Over 7 (-115)
  • Under 7 (-105)

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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Prediction:

The key for Ryu is staying healthy. When he’s on the hill and healthy, then the Blue Jays have a serious weapon in their arsenal. However, Ryu has been banged up throughout his career and missed time in the past. For the Blue Jays to be successful in this shortened season, it’s imperative that Ryu is healthy. Ryu appeared in just 15 games in 2018, but was fantastic when he was out there.

He concluded the year with a 1.97 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Ryu followed up with a 2.32 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 29 starts last year. That translated into a deal in Toronto for $80 million. In 126 games in Ryu’s career, he’s recorded an ERA of 2.98 and 1.16 WHIP. A healthy Ryu is worth the money. As a member of the Dodgers in the National League, Ryu has never pitched in a game against the Rays before. This will be his first dance versus the Rays on Friday.

Ryu staying healthy and Vlad Jr. having a breakout season for the Jays is going to be important for their success. Vladimir Gurerro Jr. sent a monster blast over the green monster in the Jays’ final exhibition game this week. The Blue Jays want to see more of that in 2020. Bo Bichette had his coming out party last season. Bichette, who may be one of the most underrated players going into this season, hit .311 and 11 home runs in 2019. He’s also an asset with his arm at shortstop.

If Travis Shaw reverts back to 2018 form after a down season last year, the Blue Jays are going to be in serious business. Shaw hit .273 with 31 home runs in 2017, and then he nailed 32 home runes with a .241 batting average in 2018. The 30-year-old gives the Blue Jays a veteran voice in the locker room as well. The Jays will be up against Charlie Morton of the Rays.

Morton is on the heels of a career-high season, with a 3.05 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Prior to that, Morton notched an ERA of 4.15, 3.62, and 3.13 the previous three seasons, so steady progress has been noted for the 36-year-old veteran. I’m fine with Morton. He’s a quality pitcher. However, -151 on the moneyline against Ryu and an underrated Blue Jays lineup offers little value. At a minimum, the Blue Jays have a better chance of winning than the odds indicate. That leaves us with a value bet on the Jays as an underdog 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.