Yusei Kikuchi will get the start for the Blue Jays (88-71, 42-36 home) as they host the Rays (97-62, 44-34 away) at Rogers Centre. The Rays will give the starting nod to Aaron Civale. Check out my prediction for game one of this AL East matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.
TAMPA BAY RAYS VS TORONTO BLUE JAYS BETTING PICK
The Pick: Tampa Bay Rays +123
This game will be played at Rogers Centre at 7:07 ET on Friday, September 29th.
WHY BET THE TAMPA BAY RAYS:
- In their last five games, the Rays have a record of 3-2.
- Over their last five games as the favorite, the Blue Jays are just 2-3 (straight-up).
- In Aaron Civale’s five most recent starts, the Rays are 2-1.
TAMPA BAY RAYS HAVE BEEN GOOD AGAINST THE AL EAST
159 games into the season, the Rays have a record of 97-62, putting them 2nd in the AL East. This mark includes an overall series 30-13-7. At home, they are 53-28 compared to 44-34 on the road.
Aaron Civale will take the mound for Tampa Bay with a 7-4 record this season. He has made 22 appearances, and his ERA is 3.43 with 8.43 strikeouts per nine innings. His FIP is 3.46, and opposing batters have a .284 on-base percentage against him.
Aaron Civale’s most recent start ended in a Rays loss to the Angels, 8-3. The right-hander yielded six earned runs on seven hits in a truncated performance.
Offensively, Tampa Bay is ranked 4th in the league with an average of 5.3 runs per game. When looking over their last five matchups, the Rays averaged 5.6 runs per contest, which is 3rd best in that span. In terms of their power numbers, Tampa Bay is 5th in all of baseball, with a total of 225 home runs.
Isaac Paredes has been a bright spot for the Rays in 2023, leading the team with 31 home runs and 97 RBIs. His slugging percentage of .492 is indicative of his impressive offensive performance this season.
WILL THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS AT HOME?
Leading up to today’s game, the Blue Jays are 3rd in the AL East on a record of 88-71. Overall, they have played in 49 different series, going 29-18-2. When playing above .500 teams, the Blue Jays are 88-71, and currently hold win percentages of 53.8% at home and 56.8% on the road.
The Blue Jays will turn to Yusei Kikuchi for the start, who has a 10-6 record this season. In 31 appearances, he has an ERA of 3.82 and a K/9 of 9.79. His FIP is 4.08 and opponents have an OBP of .301 against him.
Yusei Kikuchi’s last outing against the Rays saw him surrender three runs and nine hits, but he was not credited with a decision as the Blue Jays emerged victorious with a 9-5 scoreline.
In their ten most recent games, the Blue Jays have put together a batting average of only .219, placing them 23rd compared to the rest of the league. At 4.5 runs per game, Toronto is 15th in the MLB. This figure has come on a team batting average of .255 and OPS of .742 which has them 13th in baseball.
Bo Bichette has been a force for the Blue Jays’ offense over their last five games, leading the team in hits while batting .308. On the season, Bichette is hitting at a .303 clip and has driven in 71 runs.