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Blue Jays Host Rays in AL East Matchup

Toronto Blue Jays

Rays Need a Good Series Against the Blue Jays

A three-game set between AL East rivals will kick off this Friday when the Tampa Bay Rays head to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays. The Rays find themselves, in the thick of a five-team battle for just two AL Wild Card spots. After dropping seven of nine games, the Rays sit 9.5 games back of the division-leading New York Yankees, and are 1/2 game ahead of the Boston Red Sox. They’ll turn their sights to Toronto in hopes of turning things around in this critical stretch of play.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Tampa Bay), Sportsnet (Toronto); LINE: Rays -135; O/U: 9.5 Under -120.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Diego Castillo (1-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Jacon Waguespack (1-0, 5.68)

The Tampa Bay Rays, who appeared to be in a comfortable position for a playoff spot at the beginning of the month, are on the outside looking in right now. They begin a six-game road trip Friday with the first of three contests against the Blue Jays. The Rays dropped seven of their last nine outings, but averted a sweep at home against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. They fought out a 3-2 victory to move within a game of the second wild card in the American League.

“That was a big win,” Tampa Bay infielder Joey Wendle, who is 7-for-19 with three doubles in his last seven games, told reporters after Wednesday’s victory. “If they come in and sweep us at home, that’s not what you’re looking for at this time of year.” The Rays announced Thursday that reigning American League Cy Young winner Blake Snell would undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery and will be lost for at least a month. Reliever Diego Castillo gets the ball to start Friday’s game.

The Blue Jays will open the series with rookie Jacob Waguespack on the mound. They are 5-8 since the All-Star break, but have dropped three of their last four. The offense only managed eight runs combined after scoring 19 times in their previous two games. Eric Sogard is 8-for-27 in his last six games, and had the only hit in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Cleveland. Rookie slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a walk and is 9-for-20 with five RBI’s in his last six games for Toronto.

This, That, and a AL East Dart Throw

Things are clearer for the Jays. They’re committed to the rebuilding process, and are reveling in opportunities to upset their rivals. As part of rebuilding, young pitchers like Jacob Waguespack get opportunities to showcase themselves. Waguespack will get his third-straight start on Friday as he attempts to prove that he belongs at the Big-League level. The 25-year-old Ole Miss product allowed seven runs on 15 hits. He rang up nine strikeouts and three walks across 10 innings combined over a pair of no-decisions in his first two big league starts. Waguespack gave up three runs, two earned, and three hits with seven strikeouts over four frames in relief against Tampa Bay on May 27 in his major league debut. Toronto LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is 6-for-20 with a homer, four doubles and a team-high six RBI’s in six games against the Rays in 2019. The Blue Jays entered Thursday with the worst team batting average in the majors at .231.

The Rays, Castillo is slated to open a game for the first time this season after starting 11 times last season. He gave up five runs over 17 innings along with 21 strikeouts. Ryan Yarbrough (8-3, 3.93 ERA) could be called upon to follow Castillo and the lefty is unbeaten in his last six appearances and going 3-0 in the process. He has permitted a total of three runs over 27 1/3 innings. Randal Grichuk is 2-for-5 with a double versus Yarbrough. He is 2-0 this year without allowing a run and 5-0 lifetime with a 2.08 ERA against Toronto. Tampa Bay LF Tommy Pham, who has doubled against Waguespack, was 4-for-12 with two doubles, a homer and three RBIs in the series versus Boston.

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The Dart Throw: Rays 7, Blue Jays 2

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AL East Rays vs Blue Jays Betting Odds & Trends

Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games
Tampa Bay is 2-7 SU in its last 9 games
Tampa Bay is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Toronto
Tampa Bay is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing Toronto
Tampa Bay is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games when playing on the road against Toronto
Tampa Bay is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Toronto
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Tampa Bay’s last 15 games when playing on the road against Toronto
Toronto Blue Jays
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Toronto’s last 16 games
Toronto is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games at home
Toronto is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Toronto’s last 6 games at home
Toronto is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Tampa Bay
Toronto is 1-7 SU in its last 8 games when playing Tampa Bay
Toronto is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games when playing at home against Tampa Bay
Toronto is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Tampa Bay
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Toronto’s last 15 games when playing at home against Tampa Bay

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