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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles predictions and picks from MLB handicapper Matt Zylbert for Friday

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles Prediction and Pick

Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles

Over/Under: 9.5

First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Robbie Ray (11-5, 2.60 ERA) vs. Chris Ellis (1-0, 2.16 ERA)

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles Prediction

Blue Jays vs. Orioles odds

Wow. Even in his real hot groove at the moment, Ray is still garnering a 9.5 total.

True, the offense hitting when Ray is in the dugout is one of the best in the league, sparking the club’s current eight-game win streak. But still, the pitcher is one of the frontrunners for the American League Cy Young Award — again, that’s Ray actually in position to win a Cy Young — and he’s maybe never been this dialed in.

Ray has notched eight consecutive quality starts entering tonight — something he had never even come close to doing previously during his eight-year career — and he’s logged a double-digit amount of strikeouts in each of the last four outings.

While his usual high strikeout rate (11.49 K/9) is always impressive, it’s his career-low walk rate (2.28 BB/9) that perhaps stands out even more and has been as much of a decisive factor in Ray’s breakout performance as anything else.

The veteran southpaw knows what he has his sights set on: pitching’s biggest individual hardware and a playoff berth that’s looming so close now for the Jays.

To continue his quest, Ray gets the lowly Orioles, a team he’s handled well since being traded to Toronto last year. In his two prior meetings opposite the O’s since then — both coming this season — Ray registered a 3.18 ERA while assembling a 15-2 K/BB ratio across 11.1 total innings.

In over/unders this high, quality starts are a huge difference-maker and it would appear more likely than not that Ray is about to add another to this sizzling run.

That means we just need his counterpart, Ellis, to avoid getting bombed — something a lot of pitchers have difficulty with when facing those Blue Jay bats — but based on how he’s looked since getting the chance to start in Baltimore, he may prove useful for that objective.

Though it’s only been three assignments, Ellis has wowed early on in his new digs, yielding just four runs combined. And one of those starts came against these Blue Jays, whom Ellis limited to one run across four-plus effective innings. You’d want him to rack up more K’s but who needs ‘em when the right-hander is holding opposing hitters to a puny .186/.273/.339 slash line?

All we need is an average showing here and Ellis is apparently in the process of proving he’s more than that. Decent work opposite Ray’s zeroes on the scoreboard keeps this series opener on the quiet side.

Pick: UNDER 9.5 (-117)


Giants-Cubs Under 9.5

Red Sox-White Sox Under 8.5

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “75-66-9,” +1.19 units

Yesterday’s Result: Royals-Orioles Under 9 (WIN)

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


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