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​Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 4:07 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: Ryne Stanek (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Trent Thornton (0-0, 1.69 ERA)

Much was made of when the Rays became the first team to regularly go with a bullpen game, but in its second season now, no one is really questioning it. The strategy ended up working out very nicely, and considering the talented bullpen Tampa Bay boasts, there’s plenty of reasoning that success can continue.

Stanek was sort of the face of the operation last year, easily drawing the most “starts” (29) out of the handful of “openers” the Rays deployed. Each turn in the rotation, Stanek went no more than two innings, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because he’s capable of getting under bettors out to a good start. 

In fact, in all but seven of his starting assignments, he kept the opponent off the scoreboard. In particular, he posted a 1.80 ERA and 13-1 K/BB ratio across his nine games (six “starts”) against the Blue Jays, spanning 10 innings.

Tampa Bay’s battalion of relievers is also still providing reliable, effective work. Last year, they finished fifth in the American League in bullpen ERA (3.80). At the moment, their 2.47 ERA is third-best in  all of baseball.

On the other end of the spectrum, it will be an actual starter, Thornton, who is making just his third career start in the big leagues. In this case, I’m willing to ride with the hot, young arm.

Thornton has looked tremendous, allowing a total of only seven baserunners in his two outings. In the process, he’s recorded a 15-2 K/BB ratio in his 10.2 innings on the mound. 

Returning home tonight where he made his statement debut can aid him in terms of giving him a sense of comfort, and the lineup he’ll be tasked with holding down isn’t too intimidating, ranking 17th with 4.46 runs per game. Play: LOSS  UNDER 8.5 (-115)

Yesterday’s Result: Dodgers-Cardinals Under 8.5 (loss)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 7-8, -2.1 units

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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2019 MLB (0-1-0) Overall Record: 6-9-1

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