The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays are AL East rivals but already will play their final series of the season against one another this weekend with a four-game set from Tropicana Field. The Rays will be favored on the MLB series line, which is just the first three games.
- How to Bet Blue Jays at Rays MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday & Saturday 6:40 PM ET; Sunday 1:10 PM ET; Monday 3:10 PM ET
- Where: Tropicana Field
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Bad news this week for the Jays as their top pitching prospect and one of the top overall in the majors, Nate Pearson, was placed on the 10-day injured list with right elbow tightness. Pearson admitted his elbow was bothering following another poor start in Tuesday’s 8-7 win over the Orioles, during which he surrendered five runs on four hits — including three home runs — while issuing three walks over four innings. Though the rookie said his elbow was feeling better when he met with the training staff early Wednesday, manager Charlie Montoyo confirmed that Pearson would undergo further testing as the Blue Jays look to gain more information about the extent of the injury.
It’s been a rough rookie season so far for the 23-year-old, who has 6.61 ERA over his first four major league starts and is now facing an extended absence. There is currently no timetable for Pearson’s potential return to the Blue Jays’ rotation, with Montoyo telling reporters that the team is “going to be careful with him.” Pearson would have been scheduled to Sunday vs. the Rays.
First baseman Rowdy Tellez is expected to return to the Blue Jays’ lineup ahead of this series, perhaps as early as Thursday. Tellez was put through MLB’s concussion protocol after taking an elbow to the head at first base on Monday, but he’s shown no symptoms up to this point. The 25-year-old has three home runs and 10 RBI in 15 games.
Toronto remains without young star shortstop Bo Bichette with a Grade 1 sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. Closer Ken Giles is out with a forearm issue. He’s still several weeks away from becoming an option to rejoin the bullpen, but the Jays are proceeding as if he’ll be back at some point this season.
With Pearson’s injury and the Jays playing a doubleheader on Thursday, their rotation is a bit up in the air for this series. It should be Matt Shoemaker on Friday and Hyun-Jin Ryu on Saturday, though.
Shoemaker struck out seven over four innings while allowing three runs in a no-decision against the Rays last Sunday. Shoemaker allowed all three runs in the fourth on a three-run homer given up to Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. The 33-year-old has alternated quality starts with disappointing efforts over his first four appearances, and that’s seen him post a 5.23 ERA over 20 2/3 innings.
Ryu (2-1, 3.46) pitched six innings of one-run ball Monday in the Blue Jays’ 7-2 defeat of the Orioles. Ryu gave up eight runs over nine innings in his first two starts, but he’s allowed a total of two runs through 17 innings in three starts since.Why Bet on Tampa Bay?
The Rays won two of three at home vs. Toronto to open the season and then took two of three at the Jays’ temporary home in Buffalo last weekend.
Tampa Bay remains without reliever and occasional starter Jose Alvardo. He was diagnosed with a lat strain on Monday and won’t even throw for at least 10-14 days. The 25-year-old could struggle to make it back to the Tampa Bay bullpen before the end of MLB’s 60-game 2020 regular season.
Fellow reliever Oliver rake is expected to resume throwing within the next couple of days. Drake has been on the injured list since August 9 due to right biceps tendinitis. He earned a couple of saves in the first week of the 2020 regular season and could return to a high-leverage role.
Ace Charlie Morton (shoulder) threw a successful bullpen session on Tuesday. If no setbacks, the Rays can begin to plot out his return to the starting rotation. It’s possible we could see Morton sometime this weekend against the Blue Jays.
If Morton isn’t back, it appears the Rays will go with Ryan Yarbrough on Friday, Yonny Chirinos on Saturday, former AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell on Sunday and Tyler Glasnow on Monday. Yarbrough (0-2, 4.13) allowed a run over three innings in his start last Saturday against the Blue Jays. Yarbrough allowed four hits, and he didn’t put anyone on via walk while striking out two. His start was interrupted by weather.
Chirinos (0-0, 2.38) gave up two runs over 2 2/3 innings on Sunday in his start against the Blue Jays. He allowed five hits, and he fanned three. Chirinos got off to a miserable start, allowing a double to Cavan Biggio to leadoff the game and Randal Grichuk brought Biggio home with a two-run homer on the next play. It was the right-hander’s first start since coming off the injured list with inflammation in his triceps.
Snell (2-0, 3.00) pitched three-run ball for five innings to notch a win Tuesday as the Rays topped the Yankees 6-3. Snell was extended to 92 pitches, which is 22 more than his previous season high. In the first series of the year, Snell went two innings in his start vs. the Jays and struck out five.Expert Prediction Rays win three of four.