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Blue Jays vs. Rays Odds, Preview, Prediction: Offenses Should Feast vs. Pitchers Julian Merryweather, Luis Patiño (Wednesday, September 22)

Blue Jays vs. Rays Odds, Preview, Prediction: Offenses Should Feast vs. Pitchers Julian Merryweather, Luis Patiño (Wednesday, September 22) article feature image

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Lourdes Gurriel Jr, celebrates his home run with Corey Dickerson.

  • The Rays are slight favorites in Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays.
  • With two underperforming pitchers on the hill, offense should carry the day in this one.
  • Continue reading for a full preview of the matchup, including a betting pick.

Blue Jays vs. Rays Odds

Blue Jays Odds +100
Rays Odds -120
Over/Under 9 (-105 / -115)
Time 3:10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Blue Jays and Rays have split the first two of their three-game series in Tampa. The Rays won the opener, and Toronto prevailed 4-2 a night ago.

The Blue Jays were led by strong offensive performances from Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr, all of whom drove in runs or had multiple hits in the victory. Bichette’s day also included a solo home run in the fifth inning off starter Drew Rasmussen.

The Rays, meanwhile, managed just five hits on the day, including two from leadoff man Brandon Lowe. Lowe also drove in one of the Rays’ only two runs in the losing effort.

With two starting pitchers that have struggled mightily in 2021 squaring off in this one, should we be looking to target the total this afternoon in this crucial AL East bout?

Blue Jays’ Bullpen In The Spotlight

Julian Merryweather will take the hill for the Blue Jays for a spot start and his first appearance as a starter at the big-league level this season. To date, Merryweather has served solely as a relief pitcher and has struggled in that role. In 7 1/3 innings, he’s compiled a 6.02 FIP and has allowed an average of 2.45 K/9.

While a small sample size, he’s also allowing an alarming amount of hard contact. Per Statcast, he’s permitted a 42.3% Hard Hit rate and a staggering 21.1% Barrel-rate to opposing hitters thus far. Those numbers will need to be reduced drastically if he wishes to remain at the big-league level for much longer.

He’ll take on a Rays team that has been one of the best teams in baseball against righties this season. They’ve collected a .323 wOBA, good for the ninth-best mark among all teams.

That said, it’s likely we see the Blue Jays bullpen very early in this one. Merryweather has not pitched more than two innings, and he has not reached that mark since April. He did miss most of the season with an injury, but even with the Blue Jays’ minor-league affiliates, was being used exclusively in a relief role.

The Blue Jays’ bullpen has serviceable this season for manager Charlie Montoyo when called upon. Over 529 1/3 innings, it has pitched to a 4.17 FIP, ninth-best in all of baseball.

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Rays Hope Patiño Can Provide Length

Luis Patiño will get the nod for the Rays in what will amount to his 15th start of the season. Patiño has struggled so far in 2021, compiling a 4.70 FIP over 70 1/3 innings. He’s also allowed an average of 1.54 HR/9 thus far, which while not among the league’s worst, is still well below average.

Finally, with a 37.5% Hard Hit rate on the year (per Statcast), it’s also evident that he hasn’t been fooling too many batters.

While stretched out and capable of handling a standard starting pitching load, longevity has been an issue for Patiño lately. While he did pitch six innings in his last start, he’s lasted fewer than five innings in three of his last six outings, including two that went three innings or fewer.

Today’s matchup also won’t be an easy one. He’ll take on a Blue Jays team that has been the best in baseball against right-handed pitching so far this season, collectively hitting to a .339 wOBA thus far.

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Blue Jays-Rays Pick

While this afternoon game will be a quick turnaround time for both teams, today’s matchup has all the makings of a high-scoring affair.

Toronto will turn to a struggling Merryweather in what will be his first MLB start of the season, while the Rays will look to a starter in Patiño who has experienced plenty of issues of his own this year. Not only have both hurlers allowed a staggering amount of hard contact thus far, but each will also run into an opposing offense that can score early and often.

As such, I’ll be targeting the over in this one. That said, given the quick turnaround time from last night’s game, be sure to check the starting lineups on each side to make sure the core offensive weapons on each side will be playing. If that holds, I’ll be taking the over here and am comfortable playing it up to 9.5 runs if the total shifts before first pitch.

Pick: Over 9 (-115)

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