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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays MLB Pick, Odds, Prediction 8/23/14

Tampa Bay Rays (63-65) at Toronto Blue Jays (65-63)

MLB Baseball: Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm (Rogers Centre)

Jeremy Hellickson (R) (1-2) (2.558) vs. Mark Buehrle (L) (11-8) (3.375)

The Line: Toronto Blue Jays -120 / Tampa Bay Rays +110 --- Over/Under: 8 See the Latest Odds

TV: SUN, RSN

The Toronto Blue Jays host the Tampa Bay Rays for game two of a three game weekend series at the Rogers Centre.

The Tampa Bay Rays are a long shot to make the postseason at two games below .500 with just 34 games left to play, but on Friday night the Rays had no problem helping spoil Toronto’s chances of achieving the same goal with a dominating 8-0 win.  Starting pitcher Drew Smyly was highly effective pitching a complete game shutout while allowing just two hits on the night.  The Rays bats which have been average for most of the season had no problems at the plate scoring eight runs on 14 hits as Evan Longoria had a strong outing with three hits and three RBI’s including a solo shot and Kevin Kiermaier had three hits and an RBI.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays MLB Pick, Odds, Prediction 8/23/14

USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Hellickson will make just his seventh start of the season for the Rays on Saturday as they look to make an improbable run to grab a Wild Card spot.  The 27 year old right-hander Hellickson spent a large chunk of the season on the DL with an elbow injury after finishing the 2013 season with a 5.17 ERA.  Things have been better in 2014 as Hellickson enters this contest with a WHIP of 1.17 and ERA of 2.56 while posting a 1-2 record.  Hellickson has pitched five innings or less in four of his six starts this season and could likely be on close watch once again here with a limit of 100 pitches.  The Rays rank 16th in the league in bullpen ERA with a team average of 3.54.

The Toronto Blue Jays have showed flashes of elevating their level of competitiveness this season but ultimately they appear to be destined for yet another year hovering around the .500 mark but failing to advance to the next level.  In last night’s 8-0 loss, Marcus Stroman struggled for the second straight time following a complete game on August 9th against the Tigers, allowing six runs (five earned) on ten hits over just five innings of work.  The Blue Jays bats went cold in the losing effort managing just two total hits while being shut out.   The Blue Jays are still alive in the Wild Card race but they have to feel somewhat deflated to have held the AL East division lead at mid-year only to see themselves fall 9.5 games back where they currently stand. 

Veteran left-hander Mark Buehrle takes the mound for the Blue Jays on Saturday as the home team looks to bounce back.  Buehrle has been declining as the year has progressed following a strong start, as he enters this matchup with a WHIP of 1.41 and ERA of 3.38 while posting a record of 11-8.  Buehrle may not need the bats to provide much support given his 2-0 record against the Rays this season across three starts with an ERA of 2.21 over 20.1 innings of work.

The Blue Jays should have a decent shot at revenge here given Buehrle's numbers against the Rays this season.  I'll lay the light chalk.

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Toronto Blue Jays -120 (1 unit)

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