Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays - 4/4/16 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Toronto Blue Jays (1-0) at Tampa Bay Rays (0-1)
MLB Baseball: Monday, April 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm (Tropicana Field)
R Dickey (0-0) (0.00) vs. D Smyly (0-0) (0.00)
The Line: Tampa Bay Rays -101 / Toronto Blue Jays -109 --- Over/Under: 7.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: SNET, SUN SPORTS
On Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays will face off again in the second game of their 2016 opening series at Tropicana Field.
In game one, the Blue Jays drew first blood, posting a 5-3 victory. Key contributions came from Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion (2-for-4; 2 RBI; 1 run), Troy Tulowitzki (1-for-3; 2 RBI; 1 run) and Kevin Pillar (2-for-5; 1 RBI). The top five hitters in the Blue Jays’ order accounted for six of their seven hits.
As for the Rays, they got seven hits in this one as well (most notably from Evan Longoria’s 2-for-4 performance) and scored twice in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately couldn’t claw out of the hole and Toronto ended up with the win.
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Taking the mound for the Blue Jays in Monday’s game two will be R.A. Dickey, who is coming off a 2015 during which he posted a .500 (11-11) record and a 3.91 ERA--a far cry from his 20-6 season in 2012 with the Mets. Dickey will be getting run support from a powerful Jays order that was a machine from top to bottom in 2015. Josh Donaldson (98 runs; 33 HR, 97 RBI), Jose Bautista (96 runs; 35 HR, 90 RBI), Edwin Encarnacion (89 runs; 35 HR; 91 RBI) and Troy Tulowitzki (74 runs; 22 HR, 73 RBI) helped Toronto create one of the most formidable lineups in the league.
As for the Rays, they’ll be trotting out lefty Drew Smyly, who pitched just 66.2 innings in 2015 thanks to a shoulder injury. That said, Smyly has been pretty decent in the starter’s role over his career, and the Rays are expecting him to take a jump forward this season. We could easily see Smyly become a 10-game winner for Tampa Bay when the campaign has finished--provided he can stay healthy.
The Rays will definitely need solid pitching in 2016, as they’re pretty well-rounded at the plate but don’t have many standout hitters. Third baseman Evan Longoria was the only player on the roster to hit more than 17 home runs in 2015 (22), but Tampa Bay did get a combined 288 runs from the top four bats in their current order.
During the first couple weeks of the season, it’s tough getting a feel for teams, but there are a few noteworthy trends here, especially with Smyly. The Rays are 6-1 in Smyly’s last seven home starts, and 9-2 in his last 11 starts against the American League East.
As for the Blue Jays, they’re 16-6 over their last 22 in game two of a series, and 6-1 in their last seven road games against a lefty starter. With R.A. Dickey on the mound, they’re 12-4 over his last 16 starts.
This one seems like it has the potential for a pretty close game, but I think Drew Smyly will out-duel R.A. Dickey in a relatively low-scoring affair.