Friday MLB Odds, Predictions, Preview for Astros vs. Blue Jays: Trust Toronto’s Bullpen (June 4)

Friday MLB Odds, Predictions, Preview for Astros vs. Blue Jays: Trust Toronto’s Bullpen (June 4) article feature image
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Ron Schwane/Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto Blue Jays relief-pitcher Jordan Romano #68.

  • Two of MLB's best offenses square off on Friday as the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays commence their three-game regular-season series in Buffalo.
  • Friday's game also features two ace starting pitchers in Zach Greinke of the Astros and Hyun Jin Ryu of the Blue Jays, but MLB betting analyst Mike Ianniello believes the game may, in fact, come down to the bullpen matchup.
  • Below, find Ianniello's full betting analysis with updated odds, analysis, plus his picks and predictions for Astros vs. Blue Jays on Friday, June 4 at 7:07 p.m. ET.

Astros vs. Blue Jays Odds

Astros Odds +105
Blue Jays Odds -125
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:07 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds updated Friday afternoon and via BetMGM.

The traveling Blue Jays (29-25) have left their temporary home for the first two months in Dunedin, Florida and returned to Buffalo to play their home games. Toronto went 17-9 in Buffalo last season and opened its 2021 home stand at Sahlen Field with a pair of wins over the Miami Marlins.

Houston (31-25) trails the Oakland A’s by one game in pursuit of first place in the AL West. The Astros enter this weekend’s three-game series with the Blue Jays hot off a four-game series win against the Boston Red Sox.

On Friday, we will witness a pair of aces face off as Houston’s Zack Greinke (RHP) battles Toronto’s Hyun Jin Ryu (LHP).

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Houston Astros

Astros pitcher Zack Greinke takes the mound on Friday in hopes of buoying the team’s recent momentum following Thursday’s loss to the Red Sox.

The former Cy Young Award winner remains as steady as any pitcher in MLB. Greinke is 5-2 with a 3.67 ERA and averages more than six innings per outing over 12 starts this season. He is coming off a terrific game against the Padres, against whom Greinke allowed one run over eight innings in the win.

The veteran’s strikeout percentage (K%) is down from 24.5% to 19.4% this year. However, his Hard-Hit% is also down from 35.3% to 29.4%, which ranks in the top 7% of MLB. With one of the slowest fastballs in the league, Greinke relies on his changeup and curveball to generate soft contact. Teams are batting just .111 against his changeup this year.

The Astros offense has been fantastic all season and ranks second in the league with 5.29 runs per game. Houston has the best team batting average (.264) in MLB, ranks second in OPS, second in wOBA and first in wRC+.

What makes the Houston lineup so dangerous is that it can do damage from any spot in the order. Yuli Gurriel, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and Michael Brantley each have an OPS over .400 and a wRC+ over 125.

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Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays will have their own ace on the mound with Hyun Jin Ryu earning the start. Ryu has a 5-2 record and 2.62 ERA in 10 starts this season. If the season ended today, it would be his fourth straight season with an ERA under 3.00. Toronto has won five of Ryu’s last six starts.

Ryu does a great job at throwing strikes and limiting walks: He allows a 3.4% walk rate, which ranks in the top 3% of MLB. His cutter has been his best pitch, allowing just a .200 batting average. In five starts in Buffalo last season, Ryu was 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA.

The Astros would have an offensive advantage against most teams in the league, but the Blue Jays are one of the few that can match them. Houston ranks second in runs;Toronto is third with 5.04 per game. Houston is first in batting average; Toronto is second. Houston is second in OPS and wOBA; Toronto is first.

However, over the last month, Toronto ranks first in MLB in batting average, OPS, wOBA and wRC+. Marcus Semien was recently named the AL Player of the Month for May and is batting .370 with a 1.114 OPS in the last 30 days. Young stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez have been mashing the ball as well. Guerrero Jr. leads MLB with 17 home runs, a 1.105 OPS, .460 wOBA and 198 wRC+.

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Astros-Blue Jays Pick

These are two of the best offenses in the entire league. They both rank first or second in just about every offensive category this year and have multiple elite bats in the lineup. Neither team has a distinct advantage at the plate.

Both teams will have their ace on the mound, and Ryu and Greinke have both been top pitchers in the league for years. It is reasonable to expect each starting pitcher to pitch deep into the game, and — while I probably give Ryu a slight advantage — the starting pitching matchup is also fairly even.

Therefore, this game likely comes down the bullpen — and that is where the Astros erase Toronto’s biggest weakness. When Toronto has lost games recently, it has been due to its bullpen blowing the game late. Over the previous two weeks, the Blue Jays bullpen ranks 20th in the league in ERA and 24th in FIP.

Luckily for Toronto, Houston’s relief-pitchers are somehow even worse. The Astros bullpen ranks 25th in ERA and ranks dead-last in FIP. Houston’s relievers are 0-5 with three blown saves in the last two weeks.

Add in the fact that the Blue Jays had a day off yesterday and will have all of their arms at full strength, and I think this game comes down to the later innings. As bad as the Blue Jays bullpen has been, I still trust Toronto’s relievers a little more than Houston’s.

Over the last two seasons, the Blue Jays have averaged 6.1 runs per game and are batting .277 at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. This will likely be an exciting game with two great starters — and two elite lineups — but I like Toronto to break it open late and get the win on Friday.

Pick: Toronto Blue Jays ML -125 (Bet to -130)

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