Toronto Blue Jays (18-13) at Tampa Bay Rays (13-16)
|Date & Time||Friday May 4, 2018, 7:10 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Rays +135 / Toronto Blue Jays -150 --- Over/Under: 8.5
The Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays square off in game one of a three game AL East division set from Tropicana Field on Friday night.
The Toronto Blue Jays will look to rebound on a quick turnaround after splitting a doubleheader with the Indians, winning the opener 13-11 and dropping the second half 13-4. In the opener, Yangervis Solarte went 5 for 6 with a homer, a double and six RBIs. Josh Donaldson came back into the lineup, going 3 for 7 with a homer and three RBIs, while Russell Martin added a pair of runs in the win. Jaime Garcia got chased, giving up six runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings of work, while Ryan Tepera recorded his 2nd blown save and Tim Mayza got the win to improve to 1-0 this season. In game two, Donaldson and Solarte homered again, each of the solo variety, while Aledmys Diaz also went yard to join the fray. Joe Biagini ended up with the loss after giving up six runs on ten hits while striking out four over 4.1 innings of work. J.A. Happ will start the opener and is 4-1 with a 3.50 ERA and 50 strikeouts this season. In his career, Happ is 3-3 with a 5.08 ERA and 61 strikeouts against Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be looking to rebound after losing three of their last four games, including their series finale against the Tigers, handing Detroit the series win with a 3-2 loss in 12 innings. Wilson Ramos went 3 for 5 with an RBI and Denard Span added the other run on the board, while Carlos Gomez went 2 for 5 and Brad Miller, C.J. Cron and Mallex Smith each contributed base knocks in the loss as none of Tampa Bay’s eight hits went for extra bases. Blake Snell gave up two runs on five hits while striking out four over 6.2 innings of work, not factoring in the decision. Matt Andriese took the loss after giving up the walk-off RBI, falling to 0-1 this season. Ryan Yarbrough will get the start and is 1-1 with a 4.19 ERA and 16 strikeouts this season. This will be Yarbrough’s first career start against Toronto.
Toronto is 4-0 in Happ’s last 4 road starts and 7-2 in their last 9 series openers while the over is 5-1-1 in their last 7 games overall. Tampa Bay is 9-3 in their last 12 games overall and 4-0 in their last 4 home games while the over is 6-2 in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record.
You could argue that Tampa Bay has been playing the better baseball over the last couple of weeks. However, the Rays struggled to find their offense against a below average Tigers team, and while Toronto got routed in the second leg of the doubleheader and will be coming in on no rest, the Blue Jays’ offense is much more reliable and Happ has been very good on the mound this season, while we don’t know what to expect from Yarbrough. All in all, I think it all adds up to a Toronto win in the series opener on Friday.