It's the home opener for the Blue Jays, who will start a three-game set with Tampa Bay this evening. Should we back R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays or Jake Odorizzi and the Rays with our MLB picks?
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays seem to be locked in as -140 favorites at essentially every top sportsbook we have checked over. The Rays are therefore available for backing at a price in the range of +125 to +130.
Should we be expecting a pitchers duel or a high-scoring game this evening? We see a total of eight runs on the board, so it looks like the latter has a better chance of happening if the MLB odds are anything to go by.
Toronto Blue Jays (Dickey)
It's been a nice start to the 2015 season for the Blue Jays, as they've won four of their first six games in total, all of which came on the road. They'll be making their home debut here tonight after a couple solid road trips.
The Blue Jays wrapped up their series with Baltimore by exploding for 10 runs in a 10-7 win. Dalton Pompey, Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista all hit home runs in the victory, while Jose Reyes had three hits, including a double. It seemed like everyone was getting in on the action, as Toronto was relentless at the plate throughout.
The offensive explosion made up for a rough start from Drew Hutchison, who was beat up for seven runs over 4 and 1/3 innings. Tonight, though, the Blue Jays would love to get a better pitching effort, this time from R.A. Dickey. Dickey was sound in his first start of the year, allowing four hits and one run (with four strikeouts and three walks) over 6 and 1/3 innings against the Yankees. Can he have a repeat showing against the Rays?
Tampa Bay Rays (Odorizzi)
After opening up with three losses through their first games, the Rays have responded by winning each of their last two games in their series with Miami. Their offense finally found their stride in the finale, as Tampa Bay scored eight runs, its highest total of the young season so far.
Let's start with the pitching in the Rays' 8-5 win. Nate Karns was excellent, allowing only two hits and one earned run (with six strikeouts and two walks) in seven innings of excellent work. Offensively, David DeJesus came through with a two run homer, while Kevin Kiermaier, Asdrubal Cabrera, Tim Beckham and Rene Rivera all had good days at the plate too.
Tampa Bay goes for a third straight win tonight and will be sending out Jake Odorizzi for his second start of the season. The right hander was fantastic in his debut, pitching 6 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball (two hits allowed, seven strikeouts, zero walks), and he'll have to be at his best again tonight if he wants to slow down Toronto's potent lineup.
We don't mind sacrificing a little value with our MLB picks tonight, as we do think Toronto is the right side of the equation.
The Blue Jays have gotten off to a fast start, especially offensively, and we expect them to put a good show on for the fans in their season debut at home. Odorizzi was strong in his first outing of 2015, but the Toronto offense is a different animal and will be much trickier to quiet, especially out on the road. The right-hander was mess away from home in 2014, sporting a 6.32 ERA over 68.1 innings, a far cry from the impressive 2.62 ERA he was able to post at home.
So, in thinking the Toronto bats can make life a little difficult on Odorizzi, we are going to put our faith in the home to win straight up. As long as Dickey can keep his cool and avoid getting knocked around, the Blue Jays should be able to get the job done.
MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -140 at Bovada