Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Can Sam Gaviglio Quiet the Surging Rays?

Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Can Sam Gaviglio Quiet the Surging Rays? article feature image

Paul Rutherford, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sam Gaviglio

Betting odds: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays

  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First Pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Ryne Stanek (2-3, 2.49 ERA) vs. Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.25 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 96-68-4, +20.9 units

Yesterday’s Result
: Angels-Athletics Under 8.5, Peña vs. Anderson (loss)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

>> All odds as of 4 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets

There’s one team making things a little bit more interesting in the American League wild-card picture and that’s the Rays, who are an MLB-best 31-13 since the beginning of the August to propel them within 5.5 games of a playoff spot.

A lot of their success can be attributed to their pitching and their “bullpen game” strategy. That’s what we’ll be leaning on in this series opener from Rogers Centre.

Stanek will be leading the charge this evening on behalf of Tampa’s relief corps, and that’s a good thing considering his track record serving as “the opener.” Stanek has made 26 “starts” to date, pitching no more than two innings in all, and in 21 of these assignments, he’s kept the opponent off the scoreboard.

In particular, he’s made four “starts” (and one relief appearance) against the Blue Jays this year, blanking them in six innings. Stanek yielded only three baserunners within that span and also punched out seven.

Following Stanek will be Yonny Chirinos, who has been another key piece in sustaining the success of the “bullpen game” strategy. The 24-year-old rookie is expected to do most of the heavy lifting, which plays into our favor considering his current form.

In seven of his last eight outings, Chirinos has pitched at least five innings and given up no more than three runs. That stretch includes seven one-run innings against the Blue Jays.

While the Rays have gotten steady pitching when deploying their “bullpen game” strategy, the same cannot be said for Toronto when Gaviglio has been on the hill.

While the second-year right-hander hasn’t enjoyed a strong campaign in 2018, he can still be depended upon in certain spots. That could include tonight, considering he’ll be working in his home digs.

At home, Gaviglio has actually looked competent, recording a 3.23 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 10 starts (and two relief appearances). Compare that to his work away from Toronto — 7.91 ERA and 1.76 WHIP — and it’s not even close.

Furthermore, Gaviglio’s batting average against is more than 100 points lower (!) at home (.236) than it is on the road (.342).

You might as well wait on this over/under up until first pitch to see if it emerges to 9, since there’s no shot it goes in the other direction.

Play: UNDER 8.5/9