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Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Betting Preview

Two A.L. East rivals will square off Saturday night as the Tampa Bay Rays (27-19) take on the Toronto Blue Jays (23-20). The Blue Jays will host this one at their temporary home of TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. First pitch is scheduled for 7:37 pm ET.

The Rays took the opener, 9-7, on Friday. In the win, the Rays hit four home runs, including two by Brandon Lowe. Tyler Glasnow started the game, but he went just 4.2 innings and allowed five runs.

In the loss, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also hit two home runs while Marcus Semien hit his 11th of the season. Unfortunately, Jeremy Beasley gave up four runs in the 12th inning. Toronto fought back, scoring two in the bottom half of the inning, but could not finish the comeback.

This one is basically a pick’em game. Technically, the Blue Jays are slight favorites at -108 while the Rays’ moneyline sits at -102. The over/under for total runs is 9.5.

Pitching Matchup

The Rays will send lefty Shane McClanahan (1-0, 4.67 ERA) to the mound Saturday. In his last outing, a 12-5 win over the Mets, McClanahan went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and striking out seven.

The Blue Jays will counter with lefty Robbie Ray (2-1, 3.79 ERA). Ray picked up the win in his last start, a 10-8 win over the Phillies, as he went 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out nine.

By The Numbers

Offensively, these two teams are neck-and-neck. The Blue Jays rank sixth in runs per game, averaging five. The Rays come in one spot later at seventh, averaging 4.82 runs per game.

Defensively, it is Tampa Bay with a slight edge. They rank 10th in scoring defense allowing opponents 3.98 runs per game. The Blue Jays rank 12th, allowing 4.07 runs.

Rays Hope To Keep Pace In Division

The Rays have been playing some amazing baseball as of late, going 8-2 in their last ten games. That stretch of baseball has put them just a single game behind the division-leading Red Sox.

With the Yankees just a half-game behind the Rays, Tampa Bay knows every win is crucial at this point and will look to guarantee a series win Saturday.

While they won the game on the field, the Rays also made some news off of it Friday as they traded shortstop Willy Adames to the Brewers in exchange for a couple of relievers. With the extra-inning contest Friday, some fresh arms may be beneficial.

Leading the way for the Rays on offense is outfielder Randy Arozarena. He is hitting .278/.374/.451 with seven home runs and 24 runs batted in.

Currently, Mike Zunino leads the team in home runs (10), while Austin Meadows leads the team in runs batted in (26).

Blue Jays Don’t Want To Be Forgotten In Division

While the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees are bunched together at the top of the division, the Blue Jays are certainly within striking distance. At 23-20, they sit just 3.5 games back of first place.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been quite impressive in the early going this season. He is currently hitting .338/.447/.650 with a team-leading 13 home runs and 36 runs batted in. He is second on the team in runs scored with 34.

Marcus Semien has also proven to be a very valuable free-agent acquisition this season. In 174 at-bats, he is hitting .287/.352/.540 with 11 home runs and 28 runs batted in.

Taking Rays To Win

This pitching matchup is a tough one to sort through. Both of these pitchers have the ability to dominate a game, while both have also shown moments of inconsistency.

Ultimately, it comes down to which team has been hotter coming into Saturday, and that is Tampa Bay. Not only are they 8-2 in their last ten, but they are 16-7 when playing on the road.

This one truly is a bit of a toss-up, but the Rays still seem like the safer pick with the way they have played as of late.

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