Two Of The Hottest Lineups in Baseball Play Series Finale

The two hottest teams in baseball are set to play the rubber match of a three-game series on Wednesday afternoon. The Toronto Blue Jays took the series opener on Monday 8-1, only for the Rays to shutout the Jays on Tuesday in a 2-0 win. That sets up an intriguing rubber match and a potential playoff preview on Wednesday.

According to BetUS, The Blue Jays are sizable favorites on Wednesday with a money line of -170. Meanwhile, Tampa’s money line is listed at +150. There is also an over/under of nine runs.

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In the Standings

With Tuesday’s win, the Rays became the first team in the American League to reach 90 wins this season. They now hold a nine-game lead at the top of the AL East standings with a magic number of nine to clinch the division. Of course, the cushion is only 5.5 games over the Astros if the Rays want to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs.

As for the Blue Jays, they suffered just their second loss of September on Tuesday. It also brought them into a three-way tie with the Yankees and Red Sox for the two Wild Card spots in the American League. Needless to say, it’s going to be a close battle with those teams down the stretch despite the Blue Jays being 12-2 in September.

Ray of Light

The Blue Jays will send Robbie Ray to the mound for Wednesday’s series finale. This season, Ray has been Toronto’s best starter, going 9-5 with a 2.69 ERA over his 28 starts. He’s pitched well all season and has been even better during the second half of the season, rocking a 2.07 ERA in his 11 starts since the all-star break.

On the other hand, Tampa’s lineup has been no fun for any pitcher to face lately. Toronto pitching has cooled the Rays off, although they’ve still scored at least five runs in seven of their last 11 games. Tampa’s lineup is well balanced from top to bottom, with Nelson Cruz and Brandon Lowe leading the way in September.

Wacha Problems

The Rays will have to lean on Michael Wacha to start Wednesday’s series finale for them. This year, Wacha has been the weakest link in Tampa’s rotation, going 3-4 with a 5.37 ERA over 20 starts and five relief appearances. However, he’s showing signs of turning things around, giving up just four total runs in his last three starts, covering 15.1 innings over that span.

Wacha will also face a Toronto lineup that was shut out on Tuesday despite being one of the hottest lineups in baseball at the moment. The Blue Jays had been averaging 8.8 runs per game in September before Tuesday’s loss. 

With the likes of Marcus Semien, Vladimir Guerrero, Lourdes Gurriel, and Teoscar Hernandez all red-hot in recent days, it may not take much for the Toronto lineup to get cranking again.

The Verdict

It’s a rare occasion in baseball for a team with 90 wins to have a money line of +150 unless it’s a playoff game. That gives the Rays a ton of value in Wednesday’s game that will be difficult to ignore. With the Toronto lineup cooling off on Tuesday and Wacha pitching better lately, it’s worth betting on the Rays as underdogs on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the over/under of nine runs also provides an opportunity to bet on another low-scoring game. Nobody can deny that both of these teams can mash, but the two teams have combined for just 11 runs over two games. That makes the under on nine runs the smart bet.

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