Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Preview, Predictions and Picks for May 18, 2024

Published on:
May 18, 2024 6:12 AM
On Saturday, May 18th, the Tampa Bay Rays look to extend their series lead over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Rays, 24-22 overall and 10-10 on the road, aim to build on their 3-2 advantage in the regular season series. Meanwhile, the 19-24 Blue Jays, 9-10 at home, seek to even the series and snap their current slump.
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Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays

Rays vs Blue Jays starting pitchers

  • Kevin Gausman for Toronto Blue Jays
  • Zach Eflin for Tampa Bay Rays

Rays vs Blue Jays game preview

The upcoming MLB matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays features a compelling pitching duel with Zach Eflin taking the mound for the Rays against Kevin Gausman for the Blue Jays. Eflin has been quite consistent this season, pitching full innings with a commendable ERA of 3.91 and WHIP of 1.13. Comparatively, Gausman, facing some struggles, posts an ERA of 4.95 and a higher WHIP of 1.51, signaling potential vulnerabilities that the Rays might exploit. Both pitchers bring distinct dynamics to the game, setting the stage for an intriguing contest.

The Tampa Bay Rays enter this game with a solid lineup that has proved its capability in hitting and speed on bases, ranking 5th in stolen bases and 10th in total hits. The standout performances from players like Isaac Paredes, with a batting average of .303, and Randy Arozarena, leading with 8 home runs, highlight the team's offensive strengths. However, their middling 18th rank in runs scored suggests occasional difficulties in capitalizing on scoring opportunities. If the Rays can harness their base-running prowess and convert hits into more consistent scoring, they could pose significant challenges for the Blue Jays' defense.

On the other hand, the Toronto Blue Jays have faced some challenges this season, particularly in their batting lineup that ranks poorly across several major offensive categories. They sit in the lower echelons for total runs, hits, and home runs, which might undermine their competitiveness in the pitcher-heavy match ahead. However, players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who leads the team with a .268 batting average and 19 RBIs, along with Daulton Varsho, threaten with power from his 7 home runs, could ignite the needed spark. If Gausman manages to stabilize his performance and the lineup capitalizes on critical moments, the Blue Jays might leverage their underdog stance to pull off an upset.

Toronto Blue Jays injuries

  • Cade Doughty (2B): Day-To-Day
  • Adrian Pinto (2B): Day-To-Day
  • T.J. Brock (2B): Day-To-Day
  • Bowden Francis (RP): 15-Day-IL
  • Yariel Rodriguez (SP): 15-Day-IL

Tampa Bay Rays injuries

  • Osleivis Basabe (SS): Day-To-Day
  • Brandon Lowe (2B): 10-Day-IL
  • Ryan Pepiot (SP): 15-Day-IL
  • Jacob Waguespack (RP): 15-Day-IL
  • Colin Poche (RP): 15-Day-IL

Rays vs Blue Jays predictions

Here we go, the Rays and Jays are gearing up to face off, and I've got my eyes on a few players who could make all the difference. For Tampa, I'm counting on Randy Arozarena to bring the thunder - this guy's got 8 homers on the season already, and I'm projecting him to tack on another one tonight. And let's not sleep on Yandy Diaz, who's been quietly raking all season - I see him going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. And on the mound, Zach Eflin's got the stuff to shut down the Jays' bats; I've got him going 6 strong innings with 7 Ks.

On the other side, the Jays have some stars of their own who need to show up if they wanna take this one. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the real deal, and I'm counting on him to go deep for the third time in four games. Bo Bichette's also due for a big night - I see him notching a couple of hits and scoring a run. And don't sleep on George Springer, who's been quietly putting together a solid season - I think he gets on base three times and scores a run. If Kevin Gausman can keep the Rays' bats in check, the Jays might just pull this one out.

So, with all that said, I'm gonna take the Rays in a tight one. Zach Eflin's got the stuff to silence the Jays' bats, and I just don't trust Kevin Gausman to keep the Rays off the board. Give me the Rays 5-4 in a thriller.

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