Tuesday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Blue Jays vs. Rays: Back Toronto Bats Against Rasmussen (Sept. 21)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- Toronto and Tampa tangle again on Tuesday in a matchup the bookmakers have deemed close to a toss-up.
- The Blue Jays send talented rookie Alek Manoah to the mound against the Rays' Drew Rasmussen.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.
Blue Jays vs. Rays Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||+100|
|Time||Tuesday, 6:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Blue Jays looked like the playoffs were a distant thought after a slow start but have gone 15-4 in September to take over the final Wild Card spot. They sit a half-game ahead of the Yankees and would face off with Boston if the season ended today.
Tampa Bay is seven games ahead in the AL East and took game one of this series 6-4 yesterday, highlighted by the debut of top pitching prospect Shane Baz and a three-run home run by Yandy Diaz.
Toronto Blue Jays
One day after the Rays had one of their top pitching prospects debut, the Blue Jays will send one of theirs to the mound in Alek Manoah (RHP). Manoah made his MLB debut on May 27 and has made 17 starts this year. He is 6-2 with a 3.39 ERA and has looked every bit as good as the hype he has received.
The 23-year-old wasted no time getting acclimated, setting an MLB record as the first pitcher in league history to begin his career allowing four hits or fewer in 10 straight starts.
At 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, Manoah is an intimidating presence on the mound and uses a mix of his fastball, sinker and slider. All have been terrific, especially his slider which is allowing a .146 batting average and generating a 36.5% strikeout rate.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would be the clear AL MVP if only he could pitch, as he has been the best hitter all season. He leads the league in WAR and wRC+ and sits second in wOBA. He leads the league with a .320 batting average and with 46 home runs.
Guerrero leads a Toronto offense full of young stars that has been one of the best in the league all season. They lead the league in wOBA and sit second in wRC+. Over the last month they are first in both categories and have been crushing the ball.
Tampa Bay Rays
Drew Rasmussen (RHP) was acquired from the Brewers as part of the deal for Willy Adames on May 21 and has been great since coming to Tampa Bay. He has made 18 appearances, including eight starts, for the Rays and is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA.
His last six appearances have all been starts, and he has a 1.33 ERA and has allowed just four total runs over that span, allowing one run or fewer in each game.
Like most of Tampa Bay’s pitching staff, Rasmussen has an elite fastball that averages 97.2 miles per hour, the eighth highest in the league. He mixes that with a really good slider for the only two pitches he really throws.
Tampa Bay is always going to be known for their pitching, but they have a top 10 offense this year as well. The Rays rank 10th in wOBA and fifth in wRC+. They have scored more runs than any team in the league.
The Rays’ other top prospect Wander Franco remains sidelined with a hamstring injury but instead it has been 41-year old Nelson Cruz carrying the load lately, batting .319 with a 1.002 OPS and four home runs in the last two weeks.
Blue Jays-Rays Pick
Manoah’s most recent start came against Tampa Bay and was the best outing of his young career. He went eight innings, allowed no runs and just one hit, and struck out 10 batters.
One day later, Rasmussen got the start against Toronto and he also tossed a scoreless outing, allowing two hits in five innings against the Blue Jays.
Both of these pitchers have been excellent, but one concern for Rasmussen is he ranks in the bottom 1% of the league in Hard Hit% at 48.9%. He has allowed a 90.9 MPH average exit velocity, and the Blue Jays lead in the league in average exit velocity.
Tampa Bay’s strength is its bullpen, which is also the weakness for Toronto. I think the best play here is to play the Blue Jays ML over the first five innings at +100, and I would play it down to -115.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays F5 +100