Yandy Diaz will be looking to extend his 19-game on-base streak as the Tampa Bay Rays (36-15) host the Toronto Blue Jays (26-24) at Tropicana Field on Thursday with the visitors eyeing a split of the four-game series.
The Rays lead the series 2-1 after winning 7-3 on Wednesday, their third head-to-head victory in six games this season. Shane McClanahan went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out seven, to get the win.
Wander Franco went 3 for 4 with one run and two RBIs in the win. Jose Siri added a home run, two runs, and two RBIs. Cavan Biggio was 1 for 2 with a solo home run for the Blue Jays.
ON THE MOUND
Alek Manoah (1-4, 5.15 ERA) is slated to start for Toronto. The right-hander allowed two runs over 5.2 innings in his last start, a 6-5 home defeat against the Orioles on Saturday. He yielded six hits while striking out five and walking one in the no-decision.
Manoah has made one previous start against the Rays this season, an 8-1 home loss on April 16. He surrendered seven runs on nine hits over 4.2 innings, striking out five and walking four.
Righty Zach Eflin (6-1, 3.45 ERA) gets the ball for Tampa Bay. It’s his first appearance of the season against the Blue Jays. Eflin made one appearance against the Blue Jays in 2022, throwing one innings for the Phillies in an 18-11 home defeat on September 20.
He gave up one hit while striking out two. In his last start on Saturday, Eflin got the win at home against the Brewers. He threw seven innings and gave up three runs on four hits, striking out eight, in the 8-4 triumph. The righty is tied for third in the AL in wins.
AT THE PLATE
Over the last five games, Toronto has averaged 7.0 runs a game, up from their season average of 4.8, while slashing better across the board (.338/.379/.552). Against right-handed pitchers like Eflin this season, the Jays have a .768 OPS.
Kevin Kiermaier is the team’s strongest performer against right-handers with a .915 OPS in 103 at-bats. Tampa Bay is averaging only 5.2 runs per game in the last five, down slightly from 6.0 for the season.
The Rays have an .824 OPS against right-handers in 2023, highest in the league. With a 1.038 OPS over 123 at-bats, Diaz has been their best hitter against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Toronto is 13-15 in away games in 2023, scoring 5.3 runs per game while allowing 5.0 runs. Tampa Bay has gone 23-5 at Tropicana Field this season, averaging 5.7 runs per game while surrendering 3.4. Tampa Bay is 6-4 in the last 10 meetings at Tropicana Field despite an average scoreline favoring Toronto (5.3-4.3).
The Rays lead the AL East by three games over the Orioles. The Blue Jays are fourth in the AL East, nine games behind the Rays.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
TB Rays (-175)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.