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Blue Jays vs. Twins MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Fade Manoah in Highly Anticipated Matchup? (Thursday, Aug. 4)

Blue Jays vs. Twins MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Fade Manoah in Highly Anticipated Matchup? (Thursday, Aug. 4) article feature image
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Denis Poroy/Getty Images. Pictured: Gilberto Celestino #67 of the Minnesota Twins.

  • AL Cy Young contender Alek Manoah and the Toronto Blue Jays travel to Minnesota on Thursday as the two clubs begin a four-game series.
  • Minnesota counters with starting pitcher Sonny Gray, whose 3.40 ERA is respectable in its own right.
  • MLB betting analyst Kenny Ducey previews Thursday's highly anticipated MLB matchup and explains why it might be wise to fade Manoah against Minnesota's bats.

Blue Jays vs. Twins Odds

Blue Jays Odds -125
Twins Odds +105
Over/Under 8 (-115 / -105)
Time 7:40 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Blue Jays and Twins begin a much-anticipated four-game set in Minnesota on Thursday as both teams push for October.

Toronto comes in as one of MLB’s hottest teams, winning 13 of its last 17 to pad its lead in the wild-card standings. Minnesota is trying to hold on to a one-game lead in the AL Central, and at some point in the series will debut its prized deadline acquisition: Tyler Mahle.

Now, let’s get to the game at hand, which features two players who have been shoving all year long for their respective teams.

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Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto will start the indomitable Alek Manoah, who continues to make his case for the AL Cy Young Award. He’s been lights-out, pitching to a 2.43 ERA with an elite 28.9% hard-hit rate and a solid 22.6% strikeout rate that comes in above league average.

Manoah’s getting fewer whiffs across the board, and his repertoire has generated a higher expected batting average than a year ago. Nevertheless, he has mixed up his pitches more frequently to successfully pitch to contact. In fact, the right-hander has actually lowered his xERA — as well as his actual ERA — by minimizing walks, issuing a free pass to just 5.2% of batters.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays offense has been beastly. The Blue Jays have struck out in just 19.1% of plate appearances during the last two weeks, which is one of the best numbers in the league during that time, and they rank seventh in wRC+. The power numbers haven’t been incredible; it’s just been a constant onslaught of contact.


Minnesota Twins

Minnesota can’t really say the same over the last two weeks. It’s sporting a mediocre 98 wRC+ and a 22.1% strikeout rate, which is right in the middle of the league. Any way you slice it, the Twins have been average offensively — at best. Their 7.7% walk rate is below-average, as is their .154 ISO, which is crazy low.

Speaking of low numbers, we should discuss Sonny Gray. The Twins’ starter has been better than league average with a 6.2% barrel rate, 22.8% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate. His hard-hit rate is higher than he’d like — and at its highest mark since 2016 — but his .344 xwOBA on contact is still very solid. There’s nothing fraudulent about Gray’s 3.40 ERA.

It’s worth noting here that the Twins rank fifth in weighted runs per 100 fastballs, according to FanGraphs, which is what they’re going to see a lot of. Between Manosh’s four-seamer and sinker, he will be peppering these Minnesota bats with heat.

Blue Jays vs. Twins Pick

This one is very hard to call given the quality of both pitchers. While Manoah has a clear leg up on Gray and will face a middling lineup, we also have to consider Minnesota’s prowess when it comes to hitting fastballs.

On the other hand, while Gray has dealt with issues regarding hard-hit balls, he’s also done a good job of limiting damage in the power department. On top of that, though the Blue Jays have been winning games, it’s not as if they’re an overly-imposing offense with a wRC+ barely inside the top 10 and a low ISO.

Therefore, I think there’s some value here in fading Manoah and backing the underdogs.

Pick: Twins ML (+105)

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