The Toronto Blue Jays face off against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday hoping to extract a series win from an unorthodox five-game set.
The pregame narrative: Ross Stripling should produce a few strikeouts against a team he’s had success against, Teoscar Hernandez’s ability to handle velocity should help him out and Yandy Diaz is red hot.
Check out our Rays vs. Blue Jays prop picks for July 3.
Rays vs. Blue Jays prop picks overview
- Ross Stripling over 3.5 strikeouts (-118)
- Teoscar Hernandez over 0.5 RBI (+160)
- Yandy Diaz over 1.5 bases (+128)
Rays vs. Blue Jays prop picks
Best bet: Ross Stripling over 3.5 strikeouts (-118)
The 32-year-old draws a favourable matchup on Sunday considering the Rays 25.1% strikeout rate against right-handers is the third-highest mark in the majors. He also has a strong recent history against the team.
Current Rays hitters have faced Stripling 52 times and struck out 13 times in those plate appearances with a hefty 25.5% whiff rate. Their overall wOBA of .251 suggests he has their number in general, which should help him pitch deep enough into this game to rack up some K’s.
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It’s not particularly surprising that Stripling has been so good against Tampa Bay because he throws pitches they’ve struggled with this season. The veteran uses fastballs, sliders and changeups 89.9% of the time, and the Rays are in the bottom half of the league against all of those pitches according to FanGraphs.
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The pitch Tampa Bay hits best — the curveball — is rarely used by Stripling. Even with this advantage he’s unlikely to dominate the Rays, but he should see the slight uptick in strikeouts he needs to clear this over.
Key stat: Stripling recorded 17 strikeouts in 17.2 innings against the Rays last season.
Hernandez over 0.5 RBI (+156): Rays starter Shane Baz can bring the heat with a 96 mph fastball, and Hernandez has handled velocity well this season. The outfielder has made the best contact against pitches 95 mph or faster of any Blue Jay with a team-leading .429 xwOBA and .619 xSLG.
He was also the first hitter to take Baz deep in his MLB career with a 414-foot home run in the right-hander’s MLB debut.
Diaz over 1.5 bases (+128): Because Stripling runs reverse splits, we’ll take the Rays hottest right-hander hitter to do some damage. Diaz has cleared this bar in seven of his last eight appearances, and his status as Tampa Bay’s leadoff hitter gives him the chance to draw an extra at-bat on Sunday.
The 30-year-old’s extremely low strikeout rate (10.6%) also gives us confidence he’ll put the ball in play multiple times, meaning he shouldn’t have to rely on one big swing.
Odds as of 9:59 a.m. ET on 07/03/22.
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