Rays vs. Blue Jays Odds, Preview, Prediction: Tampa Bay Eyes for 11th Straight Win in Monday Matinee (May 24)
Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Randy Arozorena.
- The Rays go for their 11th straight win on Monday afternoon in the series finale against the Blue Jays.
- Both Tampa Bay and Toronto have been hitting the cover off the ball of late, although neither starter on Monday inspires much confidence.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down where he sees betting value in this matchup and delivers his best bet for the game.
Rays vs. Blue Jays Odds
|Blue Jays Odds
|1:07 p.m. ET
The Tampa Bay Rays enter Monday as the hottest team in baseball, winners of 10 straight games that have moved them into a share of first place in American League East at 29-19.
The Toronto Blue Jays, meanwhile, have dropped five in a row, including the first three games of this series and will look to avoid the four-game sweep on Monday afternoon in Dunedin. Toronto has been hitting the ball well, despite its results.
With two of the hottest lineups in the league, will the Jays bats be able to avoid the sweep or will the Rays bats power them to an 11th straight victory?
Rays Riding Red-Hot Lineup During Streak
Typically, the Rays' strength has been their patching staff, especially their bullpen. During Tampa Bay's 10-game winning streak, it has been the lineup leading the way.
After a slow start to the season, postseason hero Randy Arozarena has finally broken out, batting .345 with a 1.148 OPS and three home runs over those last six games. Joey Wendle is batting .438 over the last week, while catcher Mike Zunino has slugged three home runs in his last four games. Zunino leads all catchers with 11 home runs on the season.
The Rays will start Ryan Yarbrough on Monday afternoon and have gotten mixed results from the tall lefty. In four outings when used as the long-inning man after an opener, Yarbrough is 2-0 with 1.00 ERA. However, when he gets the ball first as the starter, he is 0-3 with a 6.28 ERA in five outings.
Swing and misses aren’t what you should expect from Yarbrough. He has a K/9 of just 6.75 and is in the bottom 13% of the league in K%. His main pitch is a cutter that he throws just 82 mph. Yarbrough's strength is generating soft contact, with a 27.5 HardHit% this season that ranks in the top 5% of the league.
Blue Jays' Pitching Letting Down the Lineup
Despite Toronto’s recent struggles in the win column, it hasn’t been due to lack of offense. The Blue Jays check in just behind the Rays, ranking second over the last week with a .389 wOBA and 150 wRC+.
Unlike Tampa Bay, which has gotten hot recently, the Jays' offense has been crushing the ball all season. Toronto is sixth in the league in runs scored this season and ranks fifth in batting average and seventh in OPS, wOBA and wRC+.
Young superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is batting .331 this season with a 1.076 OPS. He ranks second in the league with a .457 wOBA and second with 196 wRC+. His 13 home runs are just two off the lead league. He is hitting .400 over the last week.
It hasn’t just been Guerrero, though, as Teoscar Hernandez, Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette have all been terrific, as well. Hernandez is batting a blistering .423 with a 1.156 OPS over the last two weeks.
Toronto will start Ross Stripling on Monday and he has been, well, horrible this season.
In six starts, Stripling is 0-3 and has a 7.20 ERA. He has allowed 20 runs in 25 innings, allowing seven home runs. Stripling's most recent start was his worst, as he got shelled for six runs in 3 2/3 innings against Boston.
Teams are batting .327 with a .418 wOBA against Stripling this season. Only four pitchers in the league have a higher wOBA against. To put his struggles into context, he ranks in the bottom 12% of all pitchers in xERA, xwOBA, xBA and average exit velocity.
After Stripling, it won’t get much better in the Toronto bullpen, which has been ravaged with injuries and struggled mightily. Relief pitchers Patrick Murphy, Julian Merryweather, David Phelps, Ryan Borucki and Thomas Hatch are all on the injured list.
Over the last two weeks, Toronto’s bullpen ranks 21st in ERA and leads the league with five blown saves, including surrendering four runs in the top of the ninth to Tampa Bay on Sunday afternoon en route to a loss.
Rays-Blue Jays Pick
As well as the Blue Jays have hit the ball lately, the Rays have done so even better.
Yarbrough has struggled as a starter, but he doesn’t allow hard contact and has the much better bullpen behind him. On the other side, Stripling does not have the luxury of an elite relief corps behind him.
Tampa Bay has been a runaway train lately, and I’m not going against it right now. Dunedin has been a hitter’s paradise this season and has essentially been a home series in Florida for the Rays.
I like Tampa Bay to complete the sweep and make it 11 wins in a row. I would back them up to -130.
Pick: Rays -115 (play up to -130)