Jon Gray, one of this season’s stingiest pitchers, is set to take the mound for the Texas Rangers (43-27) as they match up against the Toronto Blue Jays (39-33) at Globe Life Field on Sunday with the three-game series tied at 1-1.
The Rangers leveled the series 1-1 after winning 4-2 on Saturday. Starter Dane Dunning went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits, to get the win, and Will Smith earned his 12th save with a scoreless ninth.
Corey Seager went 2 for 4 with a solo home run in the win. Josh Jung added a home run and two RBIs. Daulton Varsho was 2 for 3 with a solo home run for the Blue Jays. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. added one RBI on two hits.
ON THE MOUND
Chris Bassitt (7-5, 4.02 ERA) is set for the start for Toronto. The RHP is tied for fifth in the AL in wins. Bassitt allowed eight runs over three innings in his last start, an 11-6 home defeat against the Orioles on Tuesday.
He was charged with the loss, giving up 11 hits while striking out five and walking one. For Texas, RHP Gray (6-2, 2.32 ERA) will toe the rubber. It’s his first appearance of the season against the Blue Jays.
Gray made one start against the Blue Jays in 2022, throwing four innings in a 10-8 road defeat on April 8. He gave up three hits and walked two while striking out four in the no-decision.
In his last start on June 7, Gray tossed a complete game in a 1-0 defeat against the Cardinals. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out 12, but he was stuck with the loss. The righty ranks third in the AL in ERA.
AT THE PLATE
Over the last five games, Toronto has averaged only 3.0 runs a game, down from their season average of 4.5, while slashing worse across the board (.256/.297/.413).
Against right-handed pitchers like Gray this season, the Jays have a .763 OPS, the highest in the league. Brandon Belt is the team’s strongest performer against right-handers with a .852 OPS in 139 at-bats.
Texas is averaging only 3.4 runs per game in the last five, down from 6.0 for the season, with their slash line dropping across the board (.228/.306/.443).
The Rangers have a .781 OPS against right-handers in 2023, the highest in MLB. With a .854 OPS over 201 at-bats, Marcus Semien has been their best hitter against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Toronto is 20-20 away from Rogers Centre in 2023, scoring 4.7 runs per game while allowing 4.6 runs. Texas has gone 23-13 at home this season, averaging 6.3 runs per game while surrendering 4.2.
The teams have split their last eight meetings at Globe Life Field, though Toronto has the scoring advantage with an average final margin of 3.9-3.8.
The Blue Jays are fourth in the AL East, 11 games behind the division-leading Rays. The Rangers lead the AL West by three games over the Astros.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Texas Rangers (-120)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.