Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions for Blue Jays vs. Yankees: Expect Offenses to Wake Up Against Frankie Montas, Jose Berrios (Thursday, Aug. 18)
Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Berrios
- The Yankees are slight favorites at home against the Blue Jays this evening.
- New York sends newly acquired Frankie Montas to the mound, while Toronto will counter with Jose Berrios.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||+125|
|Over/Under||8.5 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
These two scuffling AL East foes finally showed signs of life on Wednesday.
The Toronto Blue Jays salvaged the final game of their series with Baltimore behind a magnificent pitching performance by Ross Stripling and exploding for a six-run seventh inning.
As for the Yankees, they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on two separate occasions. First, they rallied from down 4-0 to send the game to extras, but then allowed three runs in the top of the 10th. However, Josh Donaldson would save the day with a walk-off grand slam.
New York will hand the ball to Frankie Montas for tonight’s action. Montas has yet to make the impact that many Yankees fans and brass would like to see, but a good showing against one of the best lineups in the majors would be a step in the right direction.
Getting the call for Toronto will be Jose Berrios. After a strong month of July, Berrios has come crashing down to start August. He was tagged for eight runs on eight hits in his last outing against Cleveland. If Wednesday night’s game was a sign that the Yankees bats are heating back up, Berrios will need to find a solution very quickly.
Expect Toronto to Stay Hot Against Yankees Staff
Montas has not gotten off to a great start in pinstripes. Through two starts, he’s allowed eight runs on 10 hits and walked five batters in eight innings. Giving up that type of offense on the road does not instill much confidence heading into his first outing at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.
However, it’s not just Montas who has struggled of late. The Yankees bullpen has been one of the top units all season long, but they have regressed quite a bit in the second half. Since the All-Star break, they are 10th in bullpen ERA at 3.15, but they have a collective 4.03 FIP. To make matters worse, they are without their primary closer, Clay Holmes.
Stack all of that up against a Toronto lineup that leads the majors in batting average, ranks fourth in wOBA, and is fifth in wRC+. Those numbers are no fluke as the Blue Jays also lead the majors in hard-hit rate and average exit velocity as a club.
This lineup paired with a struggling starter, a bullpen that is reeling and a very hitter-friendly ballpark sounds like a recipe for runs.
Expect Berrios’ Downward Spiral to Continue
Berrios has gotten off to a horrid start in the month of August. He enters this outing with a 15.26 ERA and more walks than strikeouts through his first two starts this month.
In addition to his recent struggles, Berrios has been battered all year long. He ranks in the bottom-10 percent of all qualified pitchers in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrel rate. So subsequently, he is also among the bottom five in every expected statistic as well.
The most glaring issue as to why he has regressed so much this season is the decline in his curveball. Berrios had a wipeout breaking ball for the majority of his career. It is most aptly called a slurve as it’s got more horizontal break than a curveball but more depth than a slider. However, you can see the stark difference in the spin rate of the pitch from this year to last.
Last year, his curveball had a spin rate of 2,338 rpm and a BAA of .203 with a 34.4 whiff rate. This year, his curveball has a spin rate of 2,280 rpm, a BAA of .165, and a whiff rate of 31.5 percent.
While his results may appear to be better when looking at the opposing batting averages, the impact of his breaking ball not spinning as much and fooling hitters less has led to him throwing his fastball more. Since he has had to lean on his fastball, which only has a spin rate in the bottom 40 percent of the majors, hitters have been able to punish each fastball in the zone. As a result, his fastball has a BAA of .378 on the year.
We know this Yankees team can hunt fastballs, and eventually, they will return to being a lineup that’s at least close to what we saw in the first half. But, for our interests, let’s hope Wednesday night’s comeback sparked the turnaround we’ve been waiting for.
Blue Jays-Yankees Pick
Montas has not made the smoothest transition to New York, and this matchup at home is not ideal for a pitcher still trying to find his bearings with a new club. If he falters again, he won’t have much backup as the Yankees’ bullpen hasn’t been solid of late.
On the other side, Berrios is on a massive decline, and the only consistent part of his outing this year is the hard contact being made by opposing batters. The Yankees’ bats came to life Wednesday night, so they should take that momentum and confidence into this game tonight.
With both of these potent lineups in great spots, the over is the most logical angle here.
Pick: Over 8 (-115)