Blue Jays vs. Nationals Pick: Toronto Is A Big Favorite Over Washington (Tuesday, August 17)

Blue Jays vs. Nationals Pick: Toronto Is A Big Favorite Over Washington (Tuesday, August 17) article feature image
Credit:

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images. Pictured: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Corey Dickerson

  • The Blue Jays and Nationals meet on Tuesday night in MLB's YouTube game. Toronto sends rookie Alek Manoah to the mound and Washington will counter with Erick Fedde.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Blue Jays vs. Nationals Odds

Blue Jays Odds -180
Nationals Odds +155
Over/Under 9.5
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV YouTube
Odds as of Monday evening and via DraftKings.

Alek Manoah has been one of the most impressive young arms in baseball and his peripherals show the same story. Erick Fedde has helped supply the rebuilding Washington Nationals with 91 1/3 innings, but outside of that, he has not been of much value.

The Toronto Blue Jays are a clear favorite in this matchup with Washington, which ais 1-9 in its last 10 games, so are the Jays the play as the heavy favorite?

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Blue Jays Need Length Out Of Manoah

Manoah struck out 11 in his last outing. He ranks in the 86th percentile in average exit velocity against and in the 77th percentile in chase rate. This will come into play when facing a subpar lineup in Washington. His 3.10 ERA versus lefties is also pretty impressive and righties have had very little success (14 hits in 30 innings), so he can pitch to both sides of the plate and has no glaring weaknesses.

For the Jays, the crux of the team has been relievers. Since August 1, they rank 27th in the MLB in fWAR. They have a negative Win Probability Added (WPA), as well, so essentially Manoah has to go deep into this game, even with an underperforming lineup in the other dugout.

Injuries have plagued said bullpen, so most of the high-leverage inning work falls on the shoulders of Jordan Romano and Adam Cimber. If all else fails, these two should be available after the off day on Monday.

The Jays’ lineup, on the other hand, has been lethal. George Springer, Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. and Teoscar Hernández lead the way with wRC+ marks of 145 or better in August against right-handers. Marcus Semien and Corey Dickerson have hit well, too.

Then there’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is the most talented bat in the lineup, although he’s gotten off to a somewhat cool start in August by the lofty standards in which he’s set.

It Could Be A Long Night For Fedde, Nationals

For all of the thunder in the Blue Jays’ bats, they’re more than willing to take a walk if it’s given to them, so Fedde is going to need to throw some strikes. Having an average sinker that sits around 90 mph with below-average walk numbers plays into the hands of the stacked Blue Jay lineup. Fedde only strikes out 20% of hitters, too, so even free-swingers like Hernández should be fine in this matchup.

The Washington starter is not strong, so surely the bullpen can assist, right? Incorrect. Washington ranks dead last in WPA from their relievers in the month of August. The Nationals do not have many options in relief of Fedde when he inevitably struggles against a hungry Toronto lineup. Even Kyle Finnegan’s 3.11 ERA on the season is a farce with a 4.49 xFIP.

The Nats do not have the bats here, either. Juan Soto, as everyone knows, is now the face of the franchise. He is acting the part with very little help. Outside of him, only Carter Kieboom is above average in August when facing righties. His 24.2% strikeout percentage does work in his favor against with Manoah.

Blue Jays-Nationals Pick

The only comparable pieces of this game are both bullpens. Manoah is far better than Fedde and the Blue Jays’ lineup out-powers the National lineup easily.

With that in mind, the smart move is to play the first five, and that is exactly what I will do here. Expect Manoah to go at least five strong and negate the only edge the Nationals might have in this game. Play the first five spread at -1 (+105) on the Blue Jays and take this to -130.

Pick: Toronto Blue Jays first five innings -1 (+105), play to -130

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