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Rays vs. Blue Jays, 3:07 ET
The Rays are slipping a bit and could use another win in this five-game series. After the Blue Jays have taken three of the first four games, both teams send their aces to the hill. The Rays have dropped a game and a half back behind the Blue Jays. The Rays have also dropped to third in the Wild Card race behind the Mariners.
The Rays bring Shance McClanahan into the battle today. McClanahan has been nothing short of spectacular this season, but he is coming off of the injured list to pitch today. I’d have to imagine that the Rays might be cautious as their hopes in the playoffs could fall on his left arm. I am a little weary of using pitchers off of the injured list as some come back amazing, and others take a start or two to really fall into place (some take even longer, see Lynn, Lance). Against the Blue Jays, McClanahan had just one start, a seven-inning start that he allowed just one earned run and three hits. That start did come on the road and McClanahan has been strong no matter what situation we see him in.
Kevin Gausman is a strong pitcher and deserved his contract from the Blue Jays this offseason. I’ve said it before, they aren’t disappointed in his performance on the year. He has a 12-9 record, is 25th in ERA and 12th in strikeouts. One thing he hasn’t been is consistent. There are some starts that Gausman looks like the struggling pitcher he was in Baltimore and Atlanta. He has been solid in his starts against the Rays this year though. In three starts, he has a 1.59 ERA having allowed just three earned runs over 17 innings. Two of these three starts came in Tampa, the other start was a two-inning home outing – it was the one McClanahan won. Gausman left that game after he was hit in the right ankle by a line drive.
McClanahan might not last deep into the game, and Gausman hasn’t pitched great lately, so we are only looking at the first half in this one. I think we can expect McClanahan to pick up where he left off. Maybe Gausman dominates the Rays once again, but I’m taking the +105 moneyline through five innings. I wouldn’t be shocked at the game going under seven runs too.
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