Rays vs. Blue Jays MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Expect Plenty of Scoring Across Doubleheader (Saturday, July 2)
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images. Pictured: George Springer.
Rays vs. Blue Jays Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||-138|
|Time||12:07 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Toronto Blue Jays will host the Tampa Bay Rays for the second and third games of this series. Kevin Gausman will go for the Blue Jays against Shane McClanahan of the Rays in Game 1. The likely starters in Game 2 are Max Castillo for Toronto (so, a bullpen game) and Drew Rasmussen, who will be returning off the Injured List, for Tampa Bay.
In regards to McClanahan, the Blue Jays crush lefties. They have a 163 wRC+ off of them in the past month. Meanwhile, the Rays have struggled off of righties lately and have a 83 wRC+. That said, in mid-May, the Rays did manage to tag Gausman for three earned runs in seven innings (four runs total) — he is not untouchable. In the month of June, Gausman had a 3.96 ERA and two of his four starts were below expectations. Since the Rays have seen his arsenal, they should be able to push across some runs.
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McClanahan is a different beast, but since the Jays are so strong against southpaws, it is hard to envision him escaping this outing unscathed.
Look to take the over in Game 1 of the doubleheader.
As far as the second game goes, neither bullpen is particularly sharp. If the Jays are going with a bullpen game, they'll need to score a few because Tampa Bay can put up some runs, especially off of left-handers. Rasmussen is not the best, either, and coming off of an injury with a short-handed bullpen behind him does not bode well for the Rays’ staff when facing a lineup like Toronto’s. Take the over in the second game, as well.
Tampa Bay Rays: Can McClanahan Slow Toronto's Offense?
McClanahan is elite and a true Cy Young contender. His Average Exit Velocity has reduced from 91.7 mph last season to 87 mph this season. He is only walking 4.6% of hitters and striking out 35.7%. This is truly remarkable, but he will face his toughest test with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Outside of catcher Danny Jansen, the Jays are fully healthy. This is a threatening lineup that has hit lefties well of late. Alejandro Kirk, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Teoscar Hernández, Cavan Biggio and Matt Chapman all have an xwOBA of at least .500 against left-handers since June 2. Bo Bichette, Santiago Espinal, Gabriel Moreno and George Springer are all above .335, as well. This should account for nearly all batters in the Jays’ lineup, giving them enough to power through McClanahan and get to the Rays bullpen.
The Rays will have to shuffle around some things in the bullpen. Ryan Thompson and Brooks Raley are on the Restricted list. Jeffrey Springs is out. Javy Guerra and Ryan Yarbrough are on the roster with Dusten Knight and David McKay on the taxi squad. Raley and Thompson have been two of the most reliable bullpen arms for Tampa Bay this season and missing them will surely impact their chances against the Blue Jays. Only two other relievers have a sub-4.00 xFIP in the past month, meaning the Blue Jays will be able to rack up some late-inning runs.
Now, for the second game, Rasmussen is coming off of a hamstring injury. He owns a 3.41 ERA against a 4.24 xERA, so he is feasting on good luck. He should come back to earth a bit because the Blue Jays have an MLB-best 133 wRC+ off of righties in the past month. This lineup is relentless — only Espinal has a sub-.300 xwOBA. This means essentially anyone in the Blue Jays dugout should be able to put together a strong plate appearance. This will not be a welcomed sight for Rasmussen off of an injury.
Toronto Blue Jays: Will Bullpen Struggles Continue?
Gausman does not walk anyone (4.2%). That is the best thing going for him, so he will at least not issue free passes very often. His Chase Rate is also elite, but he has shown issues with Hard-Hit Percentage, where he ranks amongst the bottom half of the league.
Manuel Margot, Brandon Lowe and Mike Zunino are on the Injured List for the Rays. Yandy Díaz, Ji-Man Choi and Isaac Paredes are the three hitters on the Rays with a .340+ xwOBA since June 2. They do have four hitters with average exit velocities over 89 mph in the past month, though.
In addition, the Blue Jays have a plethora of relievers on the IL in Yimi Garcia, Trevor Richards, Andrew Vasquez, Julian Mayweather, Tayler Saucedo and Nate Pearson. They just added Sergio Romo to the roster for a reason: their bullpen is terrible. They own a 4.26 xFIP in the past month, but that is not all. Trent Thornton is the ONLY Blue Jays reliever with a sub-4.00 xFIP in the past month if Castillo opens the game. This means they will have to string together some sort of a reasonable outing from guys, who simply put, have not performed well out of the ‘pen. The Rays will take full advantage, particularly when Tim Mayza enters either of these games.
Rays-Blue Jays Pick
The Rays have only had average results against right-handers in the past month, but that should change on Saturday. Kevin Gausman will feed them strikes consistently and they will find a way to score. The Jays, as everyone knows, can hit pitchers from both sides of the rubber. McClanahan is a beast, but Toronto clubs the ball off of lefties. The Blue Jays will likely hammer Rasmussen in Game 2 as well.
With both bullpens depleted, a doubleheader is the last thing either of these teams need. Expect consistent scoring throughout both games. Take the over in Game 1 from 7 (+100) to 8 (-110) and the over in the second game up to 9.5 (-110).
Pick: Game 1 from 7 (-120) to 8 (-110) | Game 2 up to 9.5 (-110).