The Toronto Blue Jays (26-23) will have their work cut out for them against Shane McClanahan at Tropicana Field on Wednesday when the impressive left-hander takes the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays (35-15).
The Blue Jays evened up the series 1-1 after winning 20-1 on Tuesday, their third head-to-head victory in five games this season. Jose Berrios got the win, giving up one run on five hits over seven innings.
George Springer was 4 for 5 with a home run and a triple in the win. He scored three runs and had two RBIs. Danny Jansen went 3 for 6 with a home run and two doubles. He scored three runs and had three RBIs. Isaac Paredes went 1 for 4 with a solo home run for the Rays.
ON THE MOUND
Yusei Kikuchi (5-1, 4.08 ERA) is slated for the start for Toronto. The lefty is tied for fifth in the AL in wins. Kikuchi allowed three runs over 4.2 innings in his last start, a 6-2 home defeat against the Orioles on Friday.
He was charged with the loss, giving up three hits while striking out three and walking four. Kikuchi has made one previous start against the Rays this season, a 5-2 home victory on April 15. He surrendered one run on four hits over six innings, striking out nine and walking one.
For Tampa Bay, left-hander McClanahan (7-0, 2.05 ERA) takes the mound. He has made one prior start against the Blue Jays this season, giving up one run over six innings in an 8-1 road win on April 16. He gave up four hits and walked two, while striking out six in the win.
In his last start on Friday, McClanahan took a no-decision at home against the Brewers. He threw seven scoreless innings and gave up six hits, striking out seven and walking one in the 1-0 win. The lefty is tied for the league lead in wins. He also ranks third in the AL in ERA.
AT THE PLATE
Over the last five games, Toronto has averaged 6.8 runs a game, up from their season average of 4.9, while performing better across the board (.340/.386/.535). Against lefties like McClanahan this season, the Jays have a .732 OPS.
Matt Chapman is the team’s most productive hitter against left-handers with a 1.225 OPS in 38 at-bats. Tampa Bay is averaging only 4.0 runs per game in the last five, down from 5.9 for the season, with their slash line slipping across the board (.229/.302/.438).
The Rays have a .936 OPS against left-handers in 2023, second highest in the league. With a 1.368 OPS over 27 at-bats, Taylor Walls has been their best hitter against left-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Toronto is 13-14 on the road in 2023, scoring 5.3 runs per game while allowing 5.0 runs. Tampa Bay has gone 22-5 at their home park this season, averaging 5.6 runs per game while surrendering 3.4.
In the last 10 games between the AL East rivals at Tropicana Field, each club has won five, though Toronto has the scoring advantage with an average final margin of 5.5-3.7.
The Rays lead the AL East by three games over the Orioles. The Blue Jays are fourth in the AL East, eight games behind the Rays.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
TB Rays (-190)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.