After finally dropping their first game of the season — falling one win shy of the best start in MLB history — the Tampa Bay Rays look to start a new streak this afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. First pitch is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. ET. Reliever Calvin Faucher will serve as the opener for Tampa, with Josh Fleming (0-0, 6.43 ERA) following to throw the middle innings. The Jays will counter with lefty Yusei Kikuchi (1-0, 6.75).
Toronto is currently a -120 favorite on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Rays are slight +100 underdogs. The run total is set at 10.
Rays vs. Blue Jays picks: Saturday, April 15th
Out: SP Jeffrey Springs (arm), OF Jose Siri (hamstring), SP Tyler Glasnow (oblique), SP Zach Eflin (back)
Day to day: SP Jose Berrios (knee)
Josh Fleming vs. Yusei Kikuchi
Faucher will technically start for Tampa, but it’ll be the lefty Fleming handling the bulk of the innings. He was roughed up in his first appearance of the year against the Washington Nationals (three innings, 10 hits, five runs) but bounced back with four one-hit frames against the Boston Red Sox this week. He’s pitched to a 3.72 ERA over four appearances (one start) in his career against Toronto.
Kikuchi looked great to open the year, with five innings of one-run ball against the Kansas City Royals, but came crashing back down to Earth in a 12-11 loss to the Los Angeles Angels last Sunday. He’s surprisingly owned the Rays in his career, with a 1.88 ERA in five appearances (four starts).
This is among the bigger run totals on the slate today, but I’m still taking the over. This Jays lineup is rolling, especially against left-handed pitching, while a southpaw on the mound for Toronto should give Harold Ramirez and Isaac Paredes the platoon advantage for Tampa.
Pick: Over 10
The Blue Jays’ lineup is just swinging the bats too well right now, while I think Kikuchi has the raw stuff to navigate five or six innings in what should be a fairly high-scoring affair.
Pick: Blue Jays