The Tampa Bay Rays (97-62) will take on the Toronto Blue Jays (88-71) in a three-game weekend series starting on Friday, September 29. First pitch from Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario is set for 7:07 p.m. ET. Tampa Bay will start Aaron Civale (7-4, 3.43 ERA), while Toronto counters with Yusei Kikuchi (10-6, 3.82). The Jays are the team with everything to play for here: While the Rays are locked into the top AL Wild Card spot, Toronto is holding onto a one-game lead over the Astros for the second spot — and sits just two games above the Mariners, currently on the outside looking in.
The Blue Jays are the -148 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. Tampa is the +124 underdog, and the run total is set at 7.5.
Rays-Blue Jays picks: Friday, September 29
Day-to-day: 1B Yandy Diaz (hamstring)
Out: RP Jason Adam (oblique), OF Jose Siri (hand), DH/1B Luke Raley (neck)
Out: C Danny Jansen (finger)
Aaron Civale vs. Yusei Kikuchi
On Friday, Civale will start his 10th game for the Rays and his 23rd overall. He is getting over an illness but is expected to be able to take the mound for this series opener. Civale got rocked his last time out, pitching three innings against the Los Angeles Angels and allowing six earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven in the loss.
Kikuchi will start his 32nd season game, tying a career high. The veteran struggled in his last start, which came against Tampa Bay. Kikuchi allowed three earned runs on nine hits over just four innings. He struck out seven and didn’t factor into the eventual decision.
These teams matched up last weekend, and the three games ended with eight, 13 and 12 runs scored, respectively. Civale got lit up his last time out, and Kikuchi has allowed 13 earned runs over 23.2 innings this month. We should see the over hit on Friday.
Pick: Over 7.5
The Blue Jays must win this weekend to stay in the playoff hunt. They dropped two of three against the New York Yankees but picked up the win on Thursday. Tampa Bay won both games of a brief two-game series against the Boston Red Sox and heads into this important series with momentum.
Pick: Rays +124