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Blue Jays vs. Rays Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: Elite Pitching Matchup on Monday Night

Blue Jays vs. Rays Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: Elite Pitching Matchup on Monday Night article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto’s Robbie Ray and Tampa Bay’s Shane Baz.

  • Shane Baz and the Rays are underdogs for the top prospect's major-league debut tonight in Tampa.
  • Toronto sends to the mound Robbie Ray, who is now the frontrunner to win the AL Cy Young award.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, plus a betting pick.

Blue Jays vs. Rays Odds

Blue Jays Odds -135
Rays Odds +115
Over/Under 8
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

For the first time ever in the majors, it’s Shane Baz Day.

The Rays’ top pitching prospect makes his MLB debut on Monday night at home against Toronto as Tampa Bay tries to get him some innings before he presumably appears on the playoff roster.  The Blue Jays counter with the Cy Young favorite, Robbie Ray, which makes this the most highly anticipated pitching matchup of Monday evening’s baseball slate.

Baz completely dominated in the minors and it was only a matter of time before he found his way on the big league roster. His first outing will be a difficult test, though, against one of the best lineups in all of MLB and the AL’s best hitter in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Baz’s stuff projects really well at the major-league level and Ray has been very difficult to hit for the second half of the season. Both suggest runs will be hard to come by in this game. The Blue Jays are playing must-win baseball, meaning they’ll be using all of their high leverage relievers as much as possible for the next two weeks, which also helps lower the run scoring potential.

Ray Is The Cy Young Favorite

After Gerrit Cole’s blowup outing on Sunday against Cleveland, Ray is the favorite to win the AL Cy Young. He’s had an incredible turnaround from his terrible 2020 and mediocre 2019 seasons to post a career high strikeout rate and career low walk rate. He’s striking out 33.1% of batters and walking just 6.1% of hitters. His 166 ERA+ and 1.00 WHIP are among the top five in the entire league.

His xERA and xFIP suggest he could be due for some regression, as both are more than a half run higher than his actual 2.64 ERA. But even a 3.31 xERA is among the best in MLB for regular starters. Ray faced this same Tampa lineup last week and struck out 13 in seven innings.

The Jays have a disadvantage at the plate, having never seen Baz both personally or at all in the majors, because no one has. Toronto’s lineup is among the best in almost every statistical category. But the lack of familiarity that the entire league has on Baz makes his stuff more difficult to hit.

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What Can The Rays Expect Out Of Baz?

Tampa Bay’s lineup is miles ahead of last season, but the strikeout issues persist. The Rays are third worst in strikeout rate against lefties this season and have actually been a better offense away from home than at the Tropicana. Tampa Bay is seventh in wRC+ at home and fourth on the road.

Playing in one of the best pitchers’ parks can be an advantage for Tampa Bay, though, and there’s perhaps no better park to make your MLB debut than Tropicana Field.

Baz has pitched 78 2/3 innings in the minors this season. He has a 2.06 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A, with 12.9 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9. Baz is keeping the ball in the park, allowing one homer per nine and his WHIP is just 0.80. He’s unlikely to replicate that in the majors, but even an adjusted projection shows him to be among the upper-echelon of pitchers immediately.

He has a fastball with excellent control that can sometimes touch 100 mph. His wipeout slider is his best secondary pitch, but he’s been mixing in a changeup for most of the minor league season.

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Blue Jays-Rays Pick

Our Action Network PRO Projections show value on this line at 8, with the projection at 7.7 runs. Baz isn’t likely to go deep into the game in his MLB debut, but the Rays’ bullpen still projects out as one of the best in baseball.

Toronto’s bullpen is certainly worse than Tampa’s, but it’s been underrated all year and due for some positive regression that has finally come in the last month. The way Ray eats innings, though, the Jays likely won’t need to go deep into the bullpen on Monday night.

As long as it’s -110 or better, there remains value on the under in the series opener. Sit back and enjoy the AL’s best pitcher and one of baseball’s top pitching prospects have a pitcher’s duel.

Pick: Under 8 (-110 or better)

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