Blue Jays vs Rays Picks and Predictions: Divisional Back and Forth Heats Up

Toronto and Tampa Bay have traded jabs all season, and now the AL East foes are scrapping for playoff positions, too. In a season series of streaks, our MLB betting picks like the Rays to grab momentum against the Blue Jays.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2022 1:27 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jeffrey Springs Tampa Bay Rays MLB
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It looks like the American League wild-card race is going to come down to the wire after the Tampa Bay Rays took the opener of a big four-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With last night’s 10-5 victory, the Rays now trail the Jays by just 1.5 games for the top wild-card spot and will have a great chance to cut into that lead even further when they hand the ball to Jeffery Springs for Game 2.

Springs has had the Jays' number, while Toronto’s issues with its fifth spot in the rotation could burn it once again — which could mean an early lead for Tampa Bay.

Check out the best bet for my free MLB betting picks and predictions for this interleague battle between the Blue Jays and Rays.

Blue Jays vs Rays best odds

Blue Jays vs Rays picks and predictions

The Blue Jays and Rays have been back-and-forth all season and that doesn’t look like it will change in the final weeks of the season. 

The Rays won five of the first eight meetings and the Jays responded by taking four of the next six. Now it has swung back once again, with the Rays thumping the Jays in each of the last two meetings, and it could be another rough outing for the Jays tonight.

Tampa Bay hands the ball to Jeffery Springs, and the southpaw has been a problem for the Jays this season. Springs hasn’t allowed a run on just seven hits over 10 2-3 innings pitched against Toronto this season. 

In fact, George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Alejandro Kirk, Teoscar Hernandez, and Matt Chapman are a combined 7 of 48 in their careers against Springs, good for an ugly .146 average.

Something else that won’t help the Jays’ cause is that the fifth spot in their rotation is due up once again. The spot was formerly held by Yusei Kikuchi, but his consistent struggles forced the Jays to turn it over to a mix of a bullpen day, or a Mitch White spot-start, and tonight is the latter.

White is coming off a solid six innings of relief against this same Rays team back on September 13, where he gave up three runs on seven hits. However, White’s first six starts as a Jay have been a little rough, pitching to an 8.17 ERA while giving up a .878 OPS to opponents.

Now, White has been a little better than his 5.05 ERA with an expected ERA of 4.06, but the right-hander still loses command of his stuff far too often. He then overcompensates by finding too much of the plate. As a result, he gives up a lot of contact and has a .256 expected batting average. 

That won’t play well against a Rays team that seems to get scrappier the closer October gets. With a big edge when it comes to the starting pitchers, I’m betting the Rays hold a lead through five innings in this one.

My best bet: Rays -0.5 first-five innings (-104 at FanDuel)

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Blue Jays vs Rays moneyline analysis

The Blue Jays are +115 to +120 underdogs, which feels pretty on point considering the starting pitching matchup. While it may be tempting to take the value with the Jays here, proceed with caution. 

Usually, in games where White starts, the Jays usually need several innings from the bullpen with White averaging just 4.5 innings per start. Guys like Trevor Richards and Zach Pop tend to get a lot of work for them in these situations, but they were used last night thanks to Jose Berrios’ poor performance.

That likely means more innings for Yusei Kikuchi. The Jays thought moving the lefty to the bullpen would revitalize him, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Kikuchi owns a 7.50 ERA and is surrendering a 1.073 OPS to opponents over eight relief appearances. 

The edge in starters, and then Kikuchi? Fade the Rays at your own risk in this one.

Blue Jays vs Rays Over/Under analysis

The total hit the board at a nice and low 7. We’re getting that number because of Springs's great numbers against the Blue Jays but my gut reaction here is that is a touch too low. Any game that could feature both Mitch White and Yusei Kikuchi pitching for the Blue Jays should make an Under bettor nervous.

While Springs has been outstanding, this is still a dangerous Jays lineup that ranks 11th in OPS and 10th wRC+ when facing left-handed pitchers this season, and one that should be able to plate a few runs to help contribute to this one going Over the total.

Blue Jays vs Rays trend to know

The Blue Jays are 1-7 in their last eight games when facing a left-handed starter. Find more MLB betting trends for Blue Jays vs. Rays

Blue Jays vs Rays game info

Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Date: Friday, September 23, 2022
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet, Bally Sports

Starting pitchers

Mitch White (1-6, 5.05 ERA): White has mostly struggled as a Blue Jay but he's also been a bit unlucky. His 3.81 FIP is more than a full run lower than his 5.05 ERA, and he is coming off a strong performance against this same Rays team.

Jeffrey Springs (9-4, 2.45 ERA): Springs has been outstanding all season but he's really picked up his play since the start of August. The lefty is pitching to a 2.06 ERA and limiting opponents to a .206 batting average over his last nine starts. 

Blue Jays vs Rays latest injuries

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Blue Jays vs Rays weather

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