Cleveland Guardians vs Toronto Blue Jays Odds, Prediction | MLB Betting Pick for Saturday, August 26
Via Frank Jansky/Getty Images. Pictured: Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Tanner Bibee (61) delivers a pitch to the plate during the third inning of the Major League Baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Guardians on July 6, 2023, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH.
Guardians vs. Blue Jays Odds
Going into Friday’s games, the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves 1.5 games back of the final Wild Card slot, so this weekend series against the Cleveland Guardians will be monumental in their chances of reaching the postseason. Southpaw, Logan Allen, stands in their way. Hyun-jin Ryu will start for the Blue Jays and in a limited 19 innings this season, he has been effective.
The main story in this game is how poorly each team has hit left-handers as of late. Both teams have a top-10 bullpen this month, so pitching should prove supreme in the matchup. The under should be in play from the first pitch.
Logan Allen has been pretty solid for the Cleveland Guardians this year. The 24-year-old lefty ranks in the 56th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 54th percentile in Hard Hit Rate. His strikeout and walk rates rank a touch below average. This has led his season to a 3.31 ERA and 4.18 xERA.
Yes, negative regression may be in the cards, but it should not be overwhelming. In addition, this month, he carries a 1.96 ERA over 23 innings, including an outing where he only permitted one run over five innings against this Blue Jays team.
Logan Allen, Vicious 80mph Sweeper…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/AePhRmulDT
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 16, 2023
Cleveland has been incredibly weak off of lefties this month. The injury to Josh Naylor has greatly hindered this team’s offensive production, so the middle of the order is lacking any semblance of power they had before.
In August, their wRC+ off of southpaws is 37. They have only a .502 OPS and a sub-7% walk rate over 305 collective plate appearances. Ramón Laureano, José Ramírez, and Steven Kwan are the only three on the active roster with a .325+ xwOBA under these same parameters, so the bottom of the order is weak.
Cleveland’s bullpen, however, is top notch. They have an August xFIP of 3.52 over 71 1/3 innings pitched. They have a sub-8% walk rate and a 26.5% strikeout rate. They only have one active bullpen arm above a 4.00 xFIP, so basically, anyone they bring in will be serviceable.
Ryu looks like a new pitcher, and he will get to face one of the weakest hitting teams in the second half. In those 19 innings pitched this season, his Average Exit Velocity is 86.8 MPH with a Hard Hit Rate of only 28.6%. He is also only walking 6.6% of batters, as he is accustomed to in past years. Even if he slightly regressed to how he pitched the last few seasons, he should have the benefit of the doubt with how weak the Cleveland lineup is.
Toronto has been good in the month of August off of lefties with a 137 wRC+. In that time, only Davis Schneider, Vlad Guerrero, Jr., and Matt Chapman have .300+ xwOBAs. The bottom portion of the lineup, like the Guardians, has been awful. Adding onto that note, this has taken a nosedive in the last ten days. Since August 15, they have a 5.9% walk rate, 77 wRC+, and .627 OPS. Allen should have a strong appearance.
In relief, Toronto has done well in August with a 3.97 xFIP. They have a 23.3% strikeout rate and 7.3% walk rate. They have four relievers who are active under that 4.00 mark, so they have the backup to Ryu when he exits the ballgame.
Guardians vs. Blue Jays
Betting Pick & Prediction
Simply put, neither team has hit lefties well lately, and their lineups are too top heavy to have a steady production of runs throughout this game. Yes, Ryu has had some rough outings in the past, but in the few starts he has in 2023, he has been good. Allen has been great in August, too. Take this game under the total to 8 (-125).
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