The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays open a three-game series at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay in a battle of two teams looking to secure their playoff spots, and here’s the best Blue Jays vs. Rays betting pick for Monday, September 20, 2021.
The Blue Jays are slight favorites for Monday’s clash, while the Rays sit at +113 moneyline odds with a total of 8.5 runs on MyBookie Sportsbook. Tampa Bay is 9-6 against Toronto this season.
Blue Jays Cling to Final Playoff Spot
Entering this series Toronto is hanging onto a 0.5 game edge in the wild-card race, slightly ahead of the New York Yankees, who they will face in a three-game series next week. This is clearly a pivotal week for Toronto. They handled the Rays the last time these teams met, taking two of the three games in Toronto. That makes the Blue Jays 7-2 over the last nine games.
Toronto enters the series as the top power team in baseball with 237 homers. September has been no different, as the team leads baseball with 40 homeruns. It has been an outstanding month, with the team hitting .300, with a .379 OBP and a .574 slugging percentage. All three are tops in the Majors.
Toronto will start left-hander Robbie Ray. The left-hander is 12-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 29 appearances. His stats have been outstanding in September, posting a 2.00 ERA, a .197 opponent batting average, and a 1.00 WHIP in three starts.
Ray has handled Tampa Bay the season, making five starts against them, going 2-0. In 34.0 innings pitched, he has allowed just seven earned runs.
Rays Look to Clinch Top Spot in AL
This was supposed to be the season where Tampa Bay faltered after reaching the World Series last year. With a number of departures, not much was expected of this team, but the 92-58 record is tops in the American League. They look to keep things going, but a 4-7 record over their last 11 games has them slumping a little. With three against Toronto and three upcoming against Houston, this is not the time to be taking the foot off the gas.
The Rays continue to get solid production, tied for fourth in homeruns this month with 28. The other offense numbers are solid at .249/.311/.456, but the pitching has been mediocre at best, posting a 4.66 ERA in 17 games. With an opponent batting average of .256 and a WHIP of 1.38, the Blue Jays are not the kind of opponent they need to get the staff back on track.
Tampa Bay will start right-hander Shane Baz. Baz will be making his first major-league start after posting solid numbers at AA Montgomery and AAA Durham. In 10 starts at AAA, the right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA, striking out 64 in 46.0 innings pitched. He posted an impressive 0.848 WHIP, but no one knows what you will get out of a rookie making his debut against a powerful team like Toronto.
- 4-0 in their last four games on Monday.
- 9-1 in their last 10 games on the road.
- 1-4 in their last five games against a left-handed starter.
- 4-9 in their last 13 games at home when the underdog.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick
There are two primary stats to pay attention to here. First, it is the fact that Toronto is playing very well over their last 10 days while Tampa Bay is struggling. The second is the fact that Ray has been untouchable against the Rays. Consider that he gave up three runs in six innings in his first start against them, and has allowed four runs over his last 28 innings. They have no answers for the left-hander and will not in this game either.
Pick: Take Toronto Blue Jays at -125
You never like a rookie making his debut against the best hitting team in the game, especially one that is producing as Toronto is during the month of September. No doubt that Baz has good stuff, but the question remains as to whether he can keep the ball in the park, and doing so against the Blue Jays is a tall order.
These teams have gone under in six of the last eight meetings overall and five straight meetings in Tampa Bay. However, I buck the trend here.
Pick: Go over 8.5 runs at -115