The Toronto Blue Jays are in danger of falling back to .500 over the weekend. With a series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Jays will be back to .500.
Can Kevin Gausman start off the series in a big way for the Blue Jays? Here are our picks and predictions for the AL East matchup.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Friday, May 13, 2022- 07:10 PM EDT at Tropicana Field
The Toronto Blue Jays are not hitting very well in the clutch this season and that has turned their season around.
On the year, the Blue Jays are 17-15 and are currently losing ground to other AL East teams like the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
But this weekend series could change a whole lot. The Blue Jays will take on the Rays, on the road, in a weekend series.
The Rays are currently 19-13 on the season and always find ways to win games. However, on paper, the Blue Jays simply look like the better team.
The difference is that Tampa Bay can make adjustments with lefty/righty matchups when the Blue Jays simply can’t.
The Blue Jays have the bigger names on the back but the Rays have more advantages knowing they can platoon guys and get the best matchups possible.
Here are our picks and predictions for tonight’s game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Pitching Match-Up
The Blue Jays will send out Kevin Gausman, who is 3-1 on the season with a 2.13 ERA.
He was a massive pickup for the Blue Jays in the offseason and has pitched like the ace that the Blue Jays expected he would be.
Gausman has a 2.44 xFIP in the last 30 days with 32.8% strikeouts and just .8% walks in the last 30 days.
He’s still allowing 23.2% of line drives but ultimately, Gausman has been one of the best pitchers in the game this season.
On the other hand, Drew Rasmussen will get the call for the Rays. He’s not Gausman but he’s pitched very well this year as well.
Rasmussen has a 3-1 record with a 2.,89 ERA to start the season. He’s also put together an xFIP of 3.60 in the last 30 days with 24.2% of strikeouts and 6.3% of walks this season.
Rasmussen has also limited power and has kept teams off the base paths at a high rate.
Who Has the More Favorable Lineup?
The Blue Jays have been slumping recently. The offense looks great on paper, but analytically, not so much.
The Blue Jays have a .124 ISO and a wOBA of .270 against righties in the last 30 days.
Only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has a wOBA of .350 or greater against righties in the last 30 days.
George Springer has shown off some power and Alejandro Kirk is limiting strikeouts while walking 13.2% of the time against righties in the last 30 days.
Outside that, there’s a lot to be desired for this Blue Jays team against righties. On the flip side, the Rays aren’t exactly making contact against righties.
The projected lineup has struck out 27.1% of the time against righties in the last 30 days. Going up against Gausman, who has 32.8% strikeouts in the last 30 days, isn’t very appealing.
However, the Rays still have more power between Wander Franco, Ji-Man Choi, Manuel Margot, and Kevin Kiermaier.
Each of those four bats is hitting at an above-average rate in terms of ISO power numbers against righties. But don’t expect much against Gausman.
I wouldn’t expect much offense in this game. Kevin Gausman and Drew Rasmussen have both been excellent in their roles.
The Blue Jays bullpen has had their hiccups this season while the Rays’ bullpen hasn’t, but Gausman has been going pretty deep in games this season.
Gausman has finished at least five innings in every start this season and the Blue Jays have won every game he’s pitched in but one.
Oddly enough though, Rasmussen has a better WHIP than Gausman and allows less damage.
He’s not going to go deeper than Gausman but he will give you a solid five innings of quality work.
With neither lineup having much success offensively against their opposition, the under is the most appealing bet in this game.
Therefore, I’ll take the under in the first five innings.
The Blue Jays have really struggled with runners in scoring position this season and likely won’t get many opportunities to bring home runners on second or third base in this game anyway.
When they do, the probability isn’t in their favor. For your MLB pick, we’ll take the under 3.5 in the first five innings.
Score Prediction: Rays 2, Blue Jays 1
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.