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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Game 2: Odds, Picks, Betting Preview (Wednesday, Sept. 30)

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Game 2: Odds, Picks, Betting Preview (Wednesday, Sept. 30) article feature image

Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Hyun-Jin Ryu

  • The Rays are favored over the Blue Jays in Game 2 of their American League Wild Card series, with the total at 7.
  • Brad Cunningham thinks the starting pitching matchup is closer than the market indicates, but is playing the Blue Jays in the First 5 Innings to avoid Toronto's bullpen.
  • Get his full Blue Jays vs. Rays breakdown and model projections below.

Blue Jays vs. Rays Game 2 Odds

Toronto Blue Jays Odds +125 [Bet Now]
Tampa Bay Rays Odds -145 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 7 (-105/-115) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 4:07 p.m. ET

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The Tampa Bay Rays took Game 1 of their series with the Toronto Blue Jays thanks to a terrific effort from Blake Snell and the bullpen. It was the type of win we’ve come to expect from the Rays. Tampa got elite pitching and just enough offense to get across the line.

The Blue Jays will now turn to their ace, Hyun-Jin Ryu, to save their season.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Offensive Matchup

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto posted average offensive numbers in 2020 but the Jays did get hot at the very end of the season, accumulating a .361 wOBA and 129 wRC+ over the final week of the campaign. The Blue Jays were led by Teoscar Hernandez, who hit 16 home runs and drove in 34 runs, which led to a .384 wOBA. 

Toronto has been solid versus right-handed pitching this season (.329 wOBA and 109 wRC+), but Tyler Glasnow is not your run-of-the-mill righty.

The good news, though, is that the Blue Jays have been successful versus fastballs this season (10.3 weighted fastball runs), so they may be able to get to Glasnow, who throws his heater 60% of the time.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays offense has been above average all season long, ranking 10th in the MLB with a .325 wOBA and 109 wRC+. Brandon Lowe has been the clear leader this season, hitting 13 homers and driving in 36 runs. The Rays crushed lefties this season, finishing  sixth in both wOBA (.343) and wRC+ (115) against soutpaws.

The Rays are an interesting team because they rank 24th against fastballs but tend to crush off-speed pitches. Ryu is mostly an off-speed hurler so Tampa could be set up for a decent matchup.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Hyun Jin Ryu vs. Tyler Glasnow

2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Hyun Jin Ryu, LHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Hyun Jin Ryu is your classic soft-tossing lefty. He mainly uses a changeup/cutter/fastball combination, but none of his pitches average over 90 MPH.

Ryu’s changeup and cutter each produced a whiff-rate over 30% this season and combined to hold hitters to a .191 batting average. Ryu’s fastball is a sore spot, though, as hitters posted a .397 wOBA against the southpaw’s heater. That may not be an issue on Wednesday, though, since the Rays struggle versus fastball (-9.9 weighted fastball runs).

Ryu has essentially repeated the season he put together last year with the Dodgers. In fact, he has the exact same xFIP (3.32) that he posted in 2019. He’ll have a tough task against a Rays lineup that hits lefties and off-speed pitches well, but I think he’ll be up for the task.

Tyler Glasnow, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Tyler Glasnow posted the third-best xFIP (2.46) among all qualified pitchers in 2020. His effectiveness is dependent on his fastball, which averages nearly 97 MPH and can top out over 100 MPH, but it’s not just about power with Glasnow. He also has elite control of his heater, which he throws over 60% of the time.

Glasnow’s fastball is backed up by an elite curveball, which allowed a meager .120 batting average and produced a 52.8% whiff rate.

Glasnow is certainly an elite pitcher, but the Blue Jays ranked fifth against curveballs and 13th against fastballs, so Toronto isn’t without a chance on Wednesday.

Bullpen Matchup

Toronto’s bullpen has been below average this season ranking near the bottom in both ERA and xFIP. They’ve been especially bad over the past two weeks of the season posting a 8.35 ERA and 5.36 xFIP.

Tampa Bay has one of the best bullpens in baseball, collectively ranking second in ERA (3.37) and sixth in xFIP (4.16). Nick Anderson and Jalen Beeks have by far been their best two relievers this year posting xFIPs below 3. Anderson specifically has been almost unhittable, allowing five hits in 16.1 innings.

Tampa Bay has the clear advantage in the later innings in this series.

Projections and Pick

I think that the starting pitching matchup is a little closer than the current line suggests. Ryu has been a solid starter all season long and is capable of shutting down the Rays lineup.

The bullpen mismatch has me concerned, so I am going to back Toronto for the first five innings at +115, but I would go any higher than that number.

The Bet: Blue Jays First-5-Innings +115

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