by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Tampa Bay Rays have had the Toronto Blue Jays’ number in recent seasons as the AL East division rivals prepare to open a series in Buffalo on Friday night.
The Blue Jays opened as +166 home underdogs and the Rays as -176 away favorites with a 9.0-run total on the MLB odds for Friday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The matchup has been dominated recently by the Rays, who are 28-13 against the Blue Jays in 41 games dating to the start of the 2018 season.
Those wagering at online betting sites will have to be shrewd with deciding when the rebuilding Blue Jays might cadge a win during this three-game series at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. They are 3-5 in their last eight games, scoring an average of 4.1 runs while allowing 4.6 per contest. The Rays are 7-1 in their last eight games and have averaged 7.0 runs scored while also allowing 4.6 per game as they deal with a raft of pitcher injuries, including the loss of ace starter Charlie Morton (shoulder inflammation).
The Blue Jays and Miami Marlins combined to hit 11 home runs during their two-game series at Sahlen Field this week. Although that is a small sample size, it might indicate a good reason to expect a lot of scoring when the teams are into the back end of their pitching rotations.
Righthander Tanner Roark (1-1, 5.63 ERA, 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings) will start for the Blue Jays on Friday against Tampa Bay’s Trevor Richards (0-0, 5.79 ERA, 7.7 SO/9), who is also a righty. In his last start on August 7, Roark issued five bases on balls and four runs in just three innings against the Boston Red Sox. Being pushed back to start normally has not affected him, though, as his 3.70 earned-run average and 1.250 WHIP in 14 career games on six days’ rest or more are not far off his career totals (3.72, 1.238). Richards will be making his first start of the season and just his second career one against Toronto.
Saturday, righthander Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 3.0 SO/9) will make his second start of the season, while the Rays have not named a starting pitcher. Anderson was on-point over a 45-pitch season debut at Boston on August 8, allowing only one run over three innings. The long-time National Leaguer has never faced the Rays.
Sunday starter Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.86 ERA, 6.5 SO/9) might be the Blue Jays’ best bet on the mound this weekend (the Rays are undecided on a Sunday starter). Shoemaker is coming off of a solid start at Boston on August 9 where he allowed two earned runs across six innings and did not walk a batter. The righthander has a good track record against Tampa Bay in his injury-plagued career, going 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA and 1.011 WHIP while holding hitters to a .532 OPS.
The Blue Jays are going to be busy next week, with eight games over a seven-day span. They have a pair of three-game road series against the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays on either side of a Thursday doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies.