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A quick check of the MLB standings shows that tonight’s game has a little extra mustard on it for both of these teams. The Rays and Blue Jays both sit with 78 wins (the Jays have one more loss than the Rays) and while they are both likely to make the playoffs, they still need to fight for positioning. This series is fairly important, but it looks like it will start poorly.
The Rays are starting with Cooper Criswell. Don’t know who he is? I didn’t really either, to be honest. He is a prospect the Rays called up from AAA. In the minors he was adequate. His numbers don’t really stand out to me. He had three starts and eight total appearances that covered 27.1 innings. He allowed 12 earned runs in that stretch. While the numbers aren’t eye-popping, there is discussion and hope within the organization that he has good stuff to get the Rays some decent innings down the stretch. The Rays might be the ideal team for someone like him too. They are familiar with the opener and usually work to have bullpen games regularly. That’s likely what this will end up with. I would guess Criswell is out of the game by the third inning.
Jose Berrios is having a really strange year. From April through June, Berrios allowed 51 earned runs over 78.1 innings. That is pretty tough. Then, something must’ve clicked because in July, the Blue Jays won every one of his starts and he didn’t allow more than three earned runs in any of those starts. August was pretty difficult as well. He only had two quality starts, the other three he allowed at least four earned runs. September started fine with a very nice six innings against the Orioles when he allowed two earned runs. However, Berrios has been a bit better at home on the year, so maybe there is hope.
I think we can expect Berrios to allow a couple of runs, right? He has been reliable for that in many starts this season. Criswell is a bit harder to guess on, but his minor league appearances make me think runs are coming there, too. Also, the Blue Jays lineup is really good, that’s going to be hard to navigate. I’m taking the over 8.5 runs at -120.
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