Blue Jays vs. Athletics Odds, Prediction, Preview: Back Toronto’s Starting Pitcher Edge (Sept. 3)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images. Pictured: Alek Manoa.
- The A's and Blue Jays begin a three-game series north of the border on Friday.
- Toronto has a big pitching advantage with young star Alek Manao toeing the rubber.
- MLB betting analyst Mike Ianniello breaks down the matchup below and why he likes Toronto early.
Athletics vs. Blue Jays Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||-140|
|Time||7:07 p.m. ET|
Oakland will head north to Toronto for a three-game series with the Blue Jays that both teams desperately need to stay alive in the AL wild-card race.
Toronto has been victimized by playing in the best division in the league, sitting in fourth place in the AL East, despite having a +117 run differential, the fourth best in the American League. The Blue Jays are five games behind Boston for the final wild-card spot but need to jump three teams to get in.
One of those teams is the Athletics, who currently sit in the first spot on the outside looking in, two games behind the Red Sox.
These two teams split a four-game series in Oakland earlier this year. With a month left to play and each team currently out of a playoff position, they need to go on a run, picking up wins against their competition.
Manea Has Fallen Out Of Form For Athletics
The strength of this A’s team for most of the season had been its pitching staff, anchored by Chris Bassitt and Friday’s pitcher Sean Manaea (LHP). Howeve,r Bassitt looks likely to be out for the rest of the year, and Manaea has hit a wall and is fading down the stretch.
Through the end of June, Manaea was sitting with a 6-4 record and 2.91 ERA, and Oakland was sitting firmly in the top wild-card position. Since the start of July, he has faltered to a 2-5 record and 5.94 ERA.
Manaea has surrendered at least three runs in seven of his last 10 starts. He has a 9.90 ERA in the last month and has really struggled with his control and giving up home runs.
The Oakland lineup has been very top-heavy at times and overall about league average this season. They rank 16th in wOBA and eighth in wRC+. Over the last 30 days, the A’s sit 10th in wOBA and fifth in wRC+.
A large reason for the boost has been the crucial addition of Starling Marte before the trade deadline. The former All-Star is batting .343 with 20 stolen bases in 31 games for Oakland.
Manoah Has Been As Advertised For Blue Jays
The Blue Jays had high expectations for the 23-year-old Alek Manoah (RHP), and the 2019 first-round pick has certainly lived up to them so far. After making his MLB debut on May 27 with a gem at Yankees Stadium, Manoah has made 14 starts and has a 5-2 record and 3.15 ERA.
The kid wasted no time getting acclimated, setting an MLB record as the first pitcher in league history to begin his career allowing four hits or fewer in 10 straight starts.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound rookie is an intimidating presence on the mound and uses a terrific mix of his fastball, sinker and slider. His sinker has allowed just a .167 batting average against this year, with his slider generating a 34.7 K%.
Toronto has been one of the best offenses in the league all season, ranking second in wOBA and third in wRC+. They have hit the second most home runs but also strike out the second fewest.
Filled with young talent, this offense is led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who is batting .312 and is second in the league with 39 home runs. He is joined by Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel, Bo Bichette, and George Springer who are all having great years for the Jays.
Athletics-Blue Jays Pick
The Blue Jays bullpen has been shaky all season, and recently they put Brad Hand on waivers after trading for him to try and sure up their backend. I want no part of sweating Toronto late in the game.
Instead, I will back Toronto’s big advantage in starting pitching. Manaea has been trending steeply in the wrong direction over the last two months. The rookie Manoah has been terrific in his young career and especially brilliant at home. In six starts at home this year he is 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA ,and teams are hitting just .180 against him.
Look for Toronto to get off to an early lead behind Manoah and that dynamic offense, and play the Blue Jays -0.5 in the first five innings at -115 or better.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays First Five -0.5 (-105)