Blue Jays vs. Pirates MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Manoah in Mismatch (Friday, September 2)
Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: Alek Manoah
- The Blue Jays are huge road favorites in tonight's matchup with the Pirates.
- Toronto sends ace Alek Manoah to the mound, while Pittsburgh will counter with the youngster, Johan Oviedo.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Blue Jays vs. Pirates Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||-245|
|Time||6:35 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Toronto Blue Jays have yet to take advantage of a soft-spot in the schedule, so far dropping four of six contests at home to the Angels and Cubs in the last week. They will look to claim some direly needed wins against a Pittsburgh Pirates club holding a mark of 49-81 on the season.
Alek Manoah will take the mound for the Blue Jays looking to improve on what has been a tremendous sophomore season in a matchup with Johan Oviedo, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday for the start.
Oviedo was the primary return in the Jose Quintana deal at the deadline, and the 24-year old certainly offers strong cause for optimism moving forward for his club.
Will Oviedo thrive in his return to big-leagues Friday?
Toronto Missing Offense Lately
Toronto’s offense has scuffled over the last 30 days, hitting to a wRC+ of just 98, with a wOBA of .304.
With the noise currently surrounding the team you would think the numbers were even worse, but the hype entering the season for Toronto was not about the team clinging to the final wild-card spot come September, but for a World Series push.
That 30 day span is still among the very worst this offense has produced over the last two seasons, and is likely to be considered a low point moving forward.
Manoah’s numbers throughout August have regressed closer to where his xERA has suggested they should lie, but a 3.34 ERA in 29 1/3 innings still goes as a very positive mark.
Manoah’s hard-hit rate of just 30.2% this season is one of the very best marks league-wide, and runs right in line with last season’s mark of just 31.2%.
The result has been a brilliant start to his MLB career in which Manoah has allowed an overall slugging percentage of just .323, which is the seventh-best mark during that time among pitchers with over 175 IP.
Manoah has consistently played his strong slider off of a quality fastball this season to great success, and that duo should be effective against a Pirates team holding bottom-two marks against both of those pitches this season.
Pirates Eager For Look at Oviedo
The dog days of the season have really dragged for the Pirates’ offense, which has remained true to its consistently awful form throughout the month of August.
Pittsburgh has struck out 24.6% of the time during that time, generating a wRC+ of just 79, and the Pirates have generated equally poor results in splits against right-handed pitching, striking out 25.1% of the time and managing a wRC+ of 82 on the season.
A start for Oviedo does offer an exciting spot on the schedule, as the talented 24-year-old has been masterful in the minors since being acquired from St. Louis.
Oviedo was particular effective working as a reliever for St. Louis this season, pitching to an ERA of 2.66 with a WHIP of 1.08 in 13 appearances, and it will be interesting to see how the transition to starting at the big-league level is taken.
In 25 1/3 total innings in the majors this season, Oviedo managed a strong ERA of 3.20 and an xERA of 3.08, with a 3.76 xFIP and 1.30 WHIP.
Blue Jays-Pirates Pick
Manoah eyes one of the worst lineups in baseball Friday which has continued to strike out at the fifth-worst rate over the last 30 days of play, a mark that is actually an improvement over its season long sample.
Manoah has averaged 6.28 strikeouts per game since the All-Star break, surpassing today’s number of 6.5 in four of seven contests during that time.
Considering the matchup, getting well past plus money for him to go over 6.5 (+126 for seven strikeouts on FanDuel), seems to be a strong proposition.
Toronto’s offense and overall game has been hit-or-miss at best, so I could certainly see the merit in playing just Manoah to get his strikeouts in this spot and leaving it at that.
But if we’re betting on a strong performance from Manoah it will obviously come at the expense of the Pirates, and I’m still willing to bet Toronto can put a reasonable offensive night together in this spot.
Therefore I actually prefer backing FanDuel’s Player Performance Double in this spot at +185, which means that Manoah has to get seven or more strikeouts and the Blue Jays must win the game, for the bet to be a winner.
Pick: Alek Manoah Over 6.5 Strikeouts/ Toronto Blue Jays Win +185 (Play to +170)