Blue Jays vs Reds Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, August 18
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images. Pictured: Cavan Biggio
Blue Jays vs. Reds Odds
These are the interleague matchups that we want to see down the stretch. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds are both fighting for wild-card spots as the number of games remaining gets smaller and smaller.
With both teams playing with a sense of urgency, we may be in for an exciting ballgame. However, multiple factors will swing this game in favor of one side.
Let's dive into this matchup and see who has the edge as the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Cincinnati Reds.
The Blue Jays are still missing their sparkplug at the top of the order, as Bo Bichette has yet to return from injury. However, that has not slowed them down much over the past two weeks.
In the last two weeks without Bichette, Toronto ranks 10th in wRC+ and ninth in team batting average. While Bichette's absence took away one of just three hitters on the club with an above-average hard-hit rate, it's clear the lineup has found ways to get it done, and they'll have some help in the power department for this matchup.
Toronto will get to play this game at Great American Ball Park, which has been playing like Coors Field this season. The elements are favorable tonight, as it will be humid and the wind will be blowing out by the first pitch.
On top of that, the Reds will be handing the ball to Brett Kennedy tonight. Kennedy will be making just his second start of the season, and it's also just his second big-league appearance since 2018.
While we don't have much to go off, Kennedy did not exactly impress in his first start as the Nationals tagged him for four runs on five hits over five innings. Tonight, he has a big step up in competition, and his environment will be unforgiving if he's not sharp.
America's sweethearts, the Cincinnati Reds, enter this game tied for the third wild-card spot in the National League. While their season has been fun to watch, if we're being honest about this lineup they have benefited greatly from playing in the park they do.
The Reds are in the bottom third of the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrel rate. Those numbers point to significant regression in slugging as their team xSLG is 33 points lower than their actual slugging percentage.
That impending regression could benefit Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios greatly tonight. Berrios has gotten back on track in 2023 as he's begun relying on his slurve and sinker to generate soft contact.
The metrics show he's been very effective in doing so, as he ranks in the 74th percentile in average exit velocity and the 71st percentile in hard-hit rate. Look for Berrios to keep the ball down and have success tonight.
Blue Jays vs. Reds
Betting Pick & Prediction
This game certainly has the potential to be a barnburner, as any game at Great American Ball Park does, but it's clear many of the fireworks will come from one side.
The Blue Jays are not a team that jumps off the page in terms of contact metrics, but they have plenty of pop, and it won't take much to do damage in this one. I expect them to get to Kennedy but then keep the scoring going, as Cincinnati's bullpen has shown they can't put out the fire, sporting the fifth-worst bullpen ERA in the majors.
Don't get too cute here. Back the Blue Jays tonight.
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