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Rays vs. Blue Jays: Picks, predictions, how to watch Thursday’s game

We go over how to watch Thursday’s game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays and make some picks.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his walk off hit to defeat the Boston Red Sox with teammate Bo Bichette #11 in the ninth inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on June 28, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays square off on Thursday with first pitch set for 7:07 p.m. ET. The game takes place at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario and will only be available on local TV or through an subscription. Tampa Bay scratched Jeffrey Springs from this start so Matt Wisler (2-2, 2.83 ERA) will get the starting nod. Toronto will counter with Yusei Kikuchi (2-4, 5.08 ERA).

The Rays (40-34) dropped both games in their two-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. On Thursday, they will begin a rare five-game slate against the Blue Jays. Tampa Bay currently sits in fourth place of the AL East, 15 games behind the New York Yankees and two games behind the second-place Boston Red Sox. Wisler gets the starting nod, but it will likely be a bullpen day as he hasn’t pitched more than two innings in any outing this season. So far this season, he has pitched 2.1 innings and has given up no hits while striking out one against Toronto.

The Blue Jays (42-33) won an important series against the Red Sox, taking two out of three games. They went into that series on a two-game losing streak so it was good to see them bounce back. Toronto has fallen in the standings and is 13.5 games behind the Yankees. Kikuchi will be making his 15th appearance of the season, but his first against Tampa Bay. In his last outing, he pitched only two innings where he gave up six hits and five earned runs to the Milwaukee Brewers on the way to his fourth loss of the season.

Rays vs. Blue Jays

Pitchers: Matt Wisler vs. Yusei Kikuchi
First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
Rays local broadcast: Bally Sports Sun
Blue Jays local broadcast: Sportsnet
Live stream: (subscription)

Odds, picks & predictions

Run Line: Toronto -1.5
Run total: 9.5
Moneyline odds: Tampa Bay +120, Toronto -140

Moneyline pick: Toronto -140

The pick he is coming from the fact that it is going to be a bullpen day for the Rays. Toronto hasn’t been that great this year, but they are better set up for a win than Tampa Bay. With the change to Wisler at the last minute, this favors the Blue Jays. I think they win the series opener on Thursday.

Player prop pick: Yusei Kikuchi over 4.5 strikeouts

Kikuchi only pitched two innings in his last start and still managed to strike out five hitters. He has five punchouts in each of his last two starts and three of his last five outings. Kikuchi will fan at least five batters on Thursday against the Rays, who are averaging 9.13 strikeouts per game on the road this season — the ninth most in the MLB.

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