Ride the Rays’ Slump and Bet 'Under' In Toronto

Rainman M.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:13 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 1:13 PM UTC

Oddsmakers set the total for Tuesday's game north of the border between the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays at 9.5 runs. Different factors suggest that this total is too high.

The Jays are fighting to move up from last place in the AL East and have won 4 out of their last 5. The Rays are one game ahead of them but are dropping due to lack of offensive production. In their last 10 games, they scored more than 2 runs one time. On Tuesday, they’ll face Jays pitcher Marco Estrada, whom they have scored 5 or 6 runs against in each of their 3 matchups. Those 3 matchups, however, took place in the first half of the season, during which the Rays hit .257. In the second half, they are batting only .212. They’ll look to give their second-year starter, Blake Snell, some run support. Current Jays are batting .245 against in 53 career at-bats against Snell.


Probable Pitchers

Snell (0-6 4.69 ERA) has been working on making adjustments to his pitching. In April, May, June and July he was walking over 4 batters per 9 innings. He was having difficulty throwing pitches for strikes. Snell has been working on three things: to become more aggressive, to figure out where on the pitching rubber he wants to stand, and to establish a better rhythm by waiting less time in between pitches. As a result, his walk rate is dropping in August, and against the Indians last time out he gave up 1 run in 6.1 innings. Snell has sick stuff, he just needs to keep locating it with more effectivity and consistency. He has a fastball that, despite his over-the-top delivery, rises on the hitter at an average velocity of 94 mph. He complements this fastball with a curveball that averages about 15 mph less velocity. His curve teases hitters by looping over the plate, often freezing them, while they are bracing for his high-velocity fastball, or inducing ground balls.

Estrada (5-7 4.85 ERA) has been in great form, allowing 4 runs in the past 21 innings. Estrada has a nasty two-pitch combination: the fastball and the change-up. His fastball averages only 90 mph, but its rising action makes it difficult for batters to catch up with. He enhances the perceived velocity of his fastball by complementing it with a change-up, whose average velocity is a very impressive 11 mph lower than his fastball. Also, it sinks in order to elude the hitter’s bat. By using similar vertical release points and similar arm movement, Estrada masks which pitch is approaching opposing hitters. However, Estrada this year has not been so unpredictable. He has become more of a two-pitch pitcher, and batters are having an easier time reacting to his pitches. During Estrada’s seven innings of shutout baseball at home against the Yanks, opponents had to deal with his curve and cutter with greater frequency. Because he could rely on more pitches at his disposal, he did a better job of keeping opponents off-balance.

The Verdict

The Rays’ lineup is mired in a slump. The same can’t be said about the Jays, but I really like Snell’s stuff and the form he is in. He lasted 6 innings against the Indians for the first time in two starts but stated that he still wasn’t happy with his performance. I back a fiery competitor like Snell to keep his team in the game against a likewise hot Estrada on our MLB Picks. 

Free MLB Pick: First 5 'Under' 4.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3140092, "sportsbooksIds":[169,93,1096,1275,180], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":2 }[/]

comment here