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Rays vs. Blue Jays prediction: Will Tampa Bay’s unbeaten run continue?

The Rays on Friday will try to become the first team since the late 1880s to start a season 14-0. Bet on it happening

The Tampa Bay Rays are all smiles right now as they’ve started the 2023 season with 13 straight wins. If the Rays beat the Blue Jays in Toronto on Friday, they’ll become the first team in modern MLB history to start a campaign 14-0. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Rays are all smiles right now as they’ve started the 2023 season with 13 straight wins. If the Rays beat the Blue Jays in Toronto on Friday, they’ll become the first team in modern MLB history to start a campaign 14-0. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)Read moreJulio Aguilar / Getty Images

There’s been a lot of chatter among naysayers about the quality of competition the Tampa Bay Rays have faced during their historic 13-0 start to the 2023 season.

On Friday, the Rays get a chance to silence those skeptics — and make some history — when they face their first opponent with a winning record: the Toronto Blue Jays, who are 8-5 yet trail their AL East rivals by five games in the division standings.

Not only is Tampa Bay finally facing a quality foe, but it is doing so in Toronto after notching 10 of 13 victories at home.

Despite the travel and step up in class, the Rays will walk onto the field as a betting favorite for the 14th consecutive game. But will they walk off the field with a 14th consecutive victory?

We sure aren’t betting against it.

Odds updated as of 12:15 p.m. ET on April 14.

Rays vs. Blue Jays Prediction

  1. Rays -125 (at Caesars Sportsbook)

  2. List Drew Rasmussen as Tampa Bay’s starting pitcher

  3. Play the Rays up to -130

Rays vs. Blue Jays Prediction: Analysis

Breaking news: The Tampa Bay Rays aren’t going 162-0. Nor are they going 120-42 and probably not even 110-52.

The losses are going to come, and there will be plenty of them. But we’re not inclined to bet on it happening right now — not with the way Tampa is rolling.

In becoming just the third team since the late 1800s to start a season 13-0, the Rays have accumulated some truly staggering statistics:

  1. MLB-best 101 runs scored (32 more than the next-best team)

  2. MLB-low 30 runs allowed (four fewer than the next-best team)

  3. MLB-best 32 home runs hit (eight more than the next-best team)

  4. MLB-low six home runs allowed (three fewer than the next-best team)

  5. MLB-best .940 OPS (next-best team: .853)

  6. MLB-low 2.23 ERA (next-best team: 2.46)

» READ MORE: MLB betting: How oddsmakers are reacting to Tampa Bay Rays’ 11-0 start

Now, is it fair to question Tampa Bay’s schedule to date? Absolutely.

The Rays have feasted on four teams — the Tigers, Nationals, A’s and Red Sox — that occupy last place in their respective divisions and have a combined 15-36 record. And that record is still 15-23 if you strip out the losses to Tampa.

But the key word there is “feasted”.

Again: The Rays have outscored their opponents 101-30. They have hit more home runs (32) than their opponents have scored total runs. And 12 of their 13 wins have been by multiple runs (including 11 by four-plus runs).

Seriously, Tampa has put on a baseball masterclass for two solid weeks. And until they falter, it would be foolish to step in front of the Rays’ bulldozer — even against a team as good as Toronto.

Since losing three of their first four games on what was a brutal season-opening 10-game road trip, the Blue Jays are 7-2. However, two of their four losses have come with Friday’s starting pitcher, José Berríos, on the mound.

Berríos surrendered eight runs in 5 2/3 innings in his first start in Kansas City (which has one of the worst offenses in baseball). Then he yielded six runs (four earned) in four innings on Saturday at the Angels. The veteran right-hander’s current ERA and WHIP: 11.17 and 1.86.

Now check out Tampa Bay starter Drew Rassmussen’s numbers in his first two starts: 2-0 record, 0.00 ERA, three hits and no walks allowed with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings.

OK, so the Blue Jays went 3-1 against Rassmussen last year (even though the lefty only allowed seven runs over 21 innings, which is a 3.00 ERA). And Toronto won both games Berríos started against Tampa Bay at home last year (3-2 and 9-2).

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Well, that was last year. And at no point in any of those games were the Rays riding a 13-game winning streak (because they’ve never had a 13-game winning streak in franchise history until now).

Might that streak end Friday night? Sure could. But our money is on the team that is playing near-flawless baseball in every facet, not to mention playing with an abundance of confidence.

Oh, and one more thing: Hours after the Rays dusted Boston 9-3 on Thursday, Toronto suffered a 3-1 home loss to the Detroit Tigers. The same Tigers that Tampa swept by a combined score of 21-3 to start the season.

Included in that three-game annihilation was a 12-2 win in which the Rays tagged Detroit right-hander Spencer Turnbull for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Turnbull was on the mound Thursday in Toronto. He held the Blue Jays’ stacked offense to one run in five innings.

Rays vs. Blue Jays Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook):

  1. Moneyline: Rays (-125) @ Blue Jays (+105)

  2. Run Line: Rays -1.5 (+130) @ Blue Jays +1.5 (-155)

  3. Total: 9 runs (Over -115/Under -105)

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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