The Toronto Blue Jays (84-65) take one of the top offenses in MLB on the road to face the Tampa Bay Rays (82-67) at Tropicana Field on Thursday for the opener of a four-game series. The Blue Jays are in the midst of a six-game road trip. They split their last series against the Phillies, dropping the finale 4-3 on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was 1 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs, stretching his hit streak to 14 games. The Rays are kicking off the final series of their 10-game homestand. They were just swept in three games against the Astros, dropping the finale 5-2 on Wednesday at Tropicana Field. Isaac Paredes went 1 for 3 with a solo home run.
The Rays have won eight of 15 in the season series between the AL East rivals, including an 11-0 victory in their most recent meeting on September 15 at Rogers Centre. Starter Shane McClanahan threw five scoreless innings- striking out five – for the win.
ON THE MOUND
Jose Berrios (11-5, 4.99 ERA) is set for the start for Toronto. The right-hander allowed two runs over six innings in his last start, a 6-3 home win over the Orioles on Saturday. He got the win, scattering seven hits while striking out three and walking two. Over two previous starts against the Rays this season, Berrios has allowed only three earned runs over 11.1 innings (1-0, 2.38). He has struck out seven and walked three. For Tampa Bay, righty JT Chargois (2-0, 2.76 ERA) will take the mound. He has made two appearances against the Blue Jays this season, both out of the bullpen, holding opposing hitters scoreless over 2.1 innings (0-0, 0.00) with one strikeout and no walks. In his last appearance on Tuesday, Chargois pitched in relief at home against the Astros. He threw one scoreless, no-hit inning, striking out one, in the 5-0 defeat.
AT THE PLATE
The Toronto offense is averaging 4.7 runs per game for the season, fifth best in MLB, with a slash line of .262/.327/.428. Guerrero Jr. leads the team in OPS at .832. The first baseman is slashing .279/.343/.489 with 30 home runs, 88 RBIs, and 85 runs over 148 games. Over the last five games, however, Toronto has averaged 7.4 runs a game while performing better across the board (.287/.359/.500). Against righties like Chargois this season, the Jays have a .761 OPS, second highest in MLB. Guerrero Jr. also is the team’s most potent producer against right-handers with a .855 OPS in 487 at-bats. Tampa Bay is slashing .241/.310/.380 for the season and averaging 4.2 runs per game. Yandy Diaz leads the team with a .818 OPS. The third baseman has nine home runs, 54 RBIs, and 69 runs scored with a slash line of .292/.399/.419. Tampa Bay is averaging only 2.4 runs per game in the last five with their slash line falling across the board (.206/.289/.335). The Rays have a .686 OPS against right-handers in 2022. With ann .805 OPS over 342 at-bats, Diaz also has been their best hitter against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Toronto is 41-33 away from home in 2022, scoring 5.1 runs per game while allowing 4.0 runs. Tampa Bay has lost three in a row at Tropicana Field. The Rays are 49-28 at home this season, averaging 4.1 runs per game while surrendering 3.4. In the last 10 games between the teams at Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay is 6-4 with an average scoreline of 3.4-2.6.
The Blue Jays are second in the AL East, six games behind the division-leading Yankees. They currently occupy one of the Wild Card spots, sitting first. The Rays are third in the AL East, eight games behind the Yankees. They currently occupy one of the Wild Card spots, sitting second.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Toronto Blue Jays
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.