Blue Jays vs. Yankees Odds, Pick & Preview: Back the Team With Better Pitcher & Stronger Lineup (April 11)
Photo by Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Vlad Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)
- The Jays and Yankees go head-to-head in an AL East battle from Yankee Stadium.
- Toronto will have youngster Alek Manoah on the hill and also have one of the best offenses in the league.
- Mike Ianniello previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||-105|
|Over/Under||9 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
No team in the American League underachieved more in 2021 than the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite a very respectable 91-71 record, the Blue Jays should have finished 99-63, according to their run differential. That would have been good for the top Wild Card spot, ahead of the Yankees.
New York finished 92-70, but actually overachieved a bit, according to its 86-76 expected win-loss record. The Yankees made the AL Wild Card Game before falling to Boston.
After opening the season with a thrilling seven-run comeback victory against Texas, Toronto finished its three-game series with a 2-1 record. Now the Blue Jays head across the border to the Bronx for a four-game series with the Yankees.
The Yankees were unable to complete the sweep on Sunday Night Baseball against the Red Sox, but were able to take two out of three from Boston to start the season.
Toronto and New York entered the year with the two best odds to win the AL East, and if last year’s results are any indication, every game will play a huge factor in deciding who wins the best division in baseball.
Blue Jays Have Manoah Plus Loaded Offense
24-year old Alek Manoah (RHP) is one of my favorite young pitchers in the game. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound hurler throws his fastball in the upper 90’s and plays with a ton of emotion. Manoah has a great slider, allowing just a .146 batting average against last season.
After making his MLB debut last May, Manoah went 9-2 in 20 starts and compiled a 3.22 ERA. He became the first pitcher in MLB history to begin his career allowing just four hits or fewer in 10 straight starts.
On offense, Toronto is as loaded as it gets. The Blue Jays have the best offense in baseball. They finished last season first in wOBA and second in wRC+, and mash both left-handers and righties. They lost Marcus Semien, but swapped in three-time Gold Glove Award winner Matt Chapman.
Through just three games, Toronto is second in the league with 20 runs scored. MVP runner-up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has picked up where he left off, starting the year 5-for-11 with a home run and four RBIs. Guerrero, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez and Danny Jansen all have an OPS over 1.000.
No Offseason Splash to Bite Yanks?
Few players in the league have an argument that they are tougher than Jameson Taillon (RHP) and all he has battled through.
Taillon is no stranger to surgeries. He has battled through testicular cancer, undergone Tommy John surgery twice and in October, he went under the knife again to repair a torn tendon in his right ankle.
After missing all of 2020 and most of 2019, Taillon was a pleasant surprise last season, making 29 starts. He went 8-6 with a 4.30 ERA and 3.89 xERA.
He relied on his fastball more than ever, and it worked. After throwing his 4-seamer just 26.7% of the time in 2019, he brought the heater 49.5% of the time last season, and allowed just a .199 batting average against it.
New York’s offense finished in the middle of the pack last year, ranking 12th in wOBA and ninth in wRC+. The Yankees finished sixth in the league in home runs, but also sixth in strikeouts. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton each hit over 35 home runs, but DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres struggled with injuries.
The Yankees failed to make a big offseason splash, but shipped out Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela and Luke Voit, bringing back Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and trade-deadline acquisition Anthony Rizzo.
Blue Jays-Yankees Pick
Top-to-bottom, Toronto is clearly in the debate for the strongest lineup in baseball. The Yankees failed to improve their lineup this offseason, and while Stanton is on fire right now, this lineup still has holes.
New York obviously struggles with swings and misses, and the hard-throwing Manoah posted a 10.24 K/9 rate last year. He racked up at least seven strikeouts in nine of his 20 starts, including four straight to end the year — all wins.
As much increased success as Taillon had with his fastball last season, a near 50% usage rate against Toronto could be a big problem. No team in the league hit fastballs better than the Blue Jays last year. In fact, Guerrero hit fastballs better than any player in the league.
Toronto has the better lineup and the better starting pitcher in this matchup. Taillon is going to have trouble navigating this lineup, so I think the wrong team is favored here. That means I will take the short-underdog Blue Jays at -105, and I would play them to -112.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays ML -105