Blue Jays vs Guardians Odds, Picks: Target Thursday’s Total
Pictured: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer celebrate. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Blue Jays vs Guardians Odds
The Blue Jays swept a crucial series in Boston over the weekend, and although there are several other teams to hold off, it was a step in the right direction for Toronto’s playoff hopes.
Meanwhile, the Guardians are in an early August skid. Their AL Central hopes are hanging by a thread.
Acquiring Noah Syndergaard for Amed Rosario didn't do much (if anything) to improve the roster. In fact, Cleveland might be close to shutting it down.
Syndergaard will share the mound with Toronto’s Alek Moanah in a fade-worthy pitching matchup Thursday.
So, it’s time to ask: Is Toronto an average lineup without Bichette?
Bichette is an unbelievable offensive weapon and his production is vital with George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. struggling.
Guerrero is struggling by his standards. His 116 wRC+ would be his worst mark since his rookie year. However, his peripherals suggest he’s been unlucky as his xwOBA sits 50 points higher than his wOBA. He’s still crushing the ball (above the 80th percentile in almost every Statcast metric), so you have to think his luck will turn eventually.
Meanwhile, Springer went through a 2-for-49 slump in late July. He’s 9-for-20 since, but his long OPS dropped to .711, which would be a career-low.
Over the past month, the Jays boast the sixth-best wRC+ (118), but they're just an above-average offense over the past two weeks (109).
The Jays also added bullpen depth and swung deals for Genesis Cabrera and Jordan Hicks at the deadline. But I’m not high on either reliever — Hicks can't consistently locate — so I’m confused about their bullpen.
I’m also confused about Toronto's defense, which ranks first in Defensive Runs Saved, but 21st in Outs Above Average. I’m not sure where the disconnect is, but replacing Bichette (7th percentile OAA) with DeJong (93rd percentile OAA) is a plus.
Starting pitcher: Alek Manoah (RHP)
Manoah isn’t fixed, but he’s no longer a complete burnout.
Since returning from the minors on July 7, Manoah’s patched together a 4.26 ERA. Unfortunately, he hasn’t fixed his command and has walked 14 in 25 1/3 innings.
It’s interesting to note that the Stuff+ models rate Manoah lower than before. He’s got an 84 Stuff+ rating and an 89 Pitching+ rating over the past 30 days, compared to his season-long marks of 89 and 93.
His slider looks a tad better, but his fastball and changeup are still getting smashed.
The Guardians had a top-10 offense in June as they scraped together a .758 OPS and a 108 wRC+.
On July 8, the Guardians stole a contest from the Royals to move a half-game ahead in the Central. Their playoff odds were near 50%. However, they're 10-16 since.
Cleveland’s offensive woes have re-reared their ugly head. The Guardians have a .627 OPS and a 74 wRC+ over the past two weeks, both bottom-three marks during that stretch.
The Guardians are patient and boast both a low strikeout and a high contact rate, but rank last in Average Exit Velocity, Hard-Hit rate and Barrel rate.
Meanwhile, their pitching depth has taken a hit with injuries to Triston McKenzie, Shane Bieber and Cal Quantrill.
The bullpen is still relatively strong, especially the trio of Emmanuel Clase, Trevor Stephan and Enyel De Los Santos. Eli Morgan has been a solid middle-relief piece since moving full-time to the bullpen last year.
Starting pitcher: Noah Syndergaard (RHP)
Syndergaard debuted in Cleveland with a bang, recording the luckiest-ever start in the Statcast era.
It turns out, in the 8 years of Statcast, in all the games where a pitcher has faced at least 20 batters, there has never, ever been a larger gap between wOBA allowed and expected wOBA pic.twitter.com/L6ndcBgHZF
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) August 1, 2023
Congrats to Syndergaard!
He was promptly shelled in his next appearance, allowing the soft-hitting White Sox to tag him for five earned runs over six frames. That start moved his ERA to 6.75 and his xERA to 6.10.
Syndergaard throws everything in the zone (3.8% walk rate) and tries to induce soft contact with his sinker. But, as you can see below, that strategy hasn’t worked.
He doesn’t have Major League stuff, so he can’t force whiffs (14% strikeout rate).
He also lets anyone run on him. He has the highest stolen base success rate against of any starting pitcher since 2019 (.926) and has allowed 50 stolen bags in 191 innings.
Blue Jays vs Guardians
Betting Pick & Prediction
These starters are allergic to run prevention. Manoah allows anyone to get on base, and every single Syndergaard allows turns into a double, or a triple.
Run prevention could also be tough in the later innings as Cleveland's bullpen has been heavily used and Toronto's lacks depth.
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