After giving up a career-high nine runs in his last outing before the All-Star break I'm looking for Chris Archer to keep the run total down so I will back under the total when the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Archer has not been very sharp in two of his last three outings but after that horrendous game against Kansas City this a great bounce back spot for him. For the Blue Jays Marco Estrada has been pretty steady so he should do a good enough job against Tampa Bay.
MLB odds makers have come out with a total of 8 for this contest which makes sense with the highest run production team in the league in the Blue Jays. Still, I think this number is a bit too high with two quality pitchers on the mound that should be able to do enough to keep this game tight. The best odds I have seen right now is at 5Dimes with the under 8 at +102.
For the Tampa Bay Rays Archer takes the mound with a 2.74 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He is also second in the league in strikeouts with 147. He was not particularly sharp before the break allowing 19 runs in his last five games highlighted by that terrible outing against Kansas City. Still, he is one of the best pitchers in the American League and this is a great spot for him to bounce back against one of the best offenses in the major leagues. He has electric type stuff and should be focused today. For the Toronto Blue Jays Estrada takes the hill with a 3.52 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. In his last five starts he has only allowed seven earned runs total over 28 innings, and in his last time pitching against Tampa Bay he almost threw a no-hitter. I don't expect him to be that sharp today but he should do enough to get us under that total and we could possibly see a final of around 4-2.
At the plate
Toronto has been one of the most productive offense is not only in the American League but in the Major Leagues so far this season. They lead the league in runs scored per game with Tampa Bay ranked 26th. In OPS, again Toronto leads the league with Tampa Bay ranked 25th. There is a large gap between these two teams as far as production goes so far this season at the plate. But with Archer in bounce back mode and Estrada already proving he can hold down Tampa Bay we should see a low-scoring affair.
Look for Archer to pitch around six solid innings and then give way to a pretty decent Tampa Bay bullpen. On the other end Estrada should be efficient enough to keep Tampa Bay in check for most of the game and I think this will be a tight one in Toronto today and a minor pitcher's duel.
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