Blue Jays vs. Braves MLB Odds & Picks: Back Ryu and Toronto’s Bullpen (Wednesday, May 12)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Hyun-jin Ryu.
- Hyun-jin Ryu, one of MLB's most underrated pitchers, gets the start for Toronto.
- Atlanta plays for the first time since winning a series against divisional rival Philadelphia on Sunday and will start Max Fried.
- D.J. James explains why both Ryu and Toronto's bullpen make them a smart bet, below.
Blue Jays vs. Braves Odds
|Blue Jays Odds
|7:20 p.m. ET
|Odds as of Tuesday evening and via PointsBet.
Toronto's Hyun-jin Ryu has been one of the most underrated and consistent starters in the MLB since 2017. He will match up with Atlanta's Max Fried, yet another Harvard-Westlake alumnus who only lately has progressed into the hurler he looked like upon entering the league that same season.
Does Toronto's savvy, veteran soft-tosser have the edge, or will it be the opposing southpaw who seems to be coming into his own again?
Toronto Blue Jays
Ryu is probably one of the most solid starting pitching options in the league, and no one discusses him. He is not flashy. He only ranks in the third percentile of MLB with an average fastball around 90 mph. Frankly, he utilizes his changeup and cutter far more often, so speed does not matter to him.
Importantly, his hard hit percentage against is only 31.3%, and his exit velocity against is only 86.7 mph. He consistently keeps the ball on the ground (48.4%). This will negate a major advantage the Atlanta Braves have over the Blue Jays, as they only hit ground balls 39.8% of the time.
More than likely, Ryu will go at least five innings strong, but the Jays will have to use their bullpen at some point in this game, which currently ranks fourth in the Major Leagues with a 2.92 ERA.
Unfortunately for them, the injury to Kirby Yates to start the season was not the only issue their ‘pen has had with staying healthy. In fact, plenty of mainstays have made their way to the injury list, including Anthony Castro, Rafael Dolis, David Phelps and Julian Merryweather. The rest of the bullpen will have to carry them across the finishline in this one.
As far as the lineup goes, the Jays do not have any advantage over the Braves. Both rank around league average with a 99 wRC+ and 100 wRC+, respectively. However, since April 26, they do rank first in home runs, runs and OPS. Atlanta has been relatively hot, too, but not to this level.
As alluded to earlier, Atlanta will struggle with keeping the ball in the air, but luckily for them, in the same timeframe as the Blue Jays above (April 26), they rank fourth in home runs, fifth in runs and sixth in OPS.
Unfortunately for them, both Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna have not yet hit the ball near the level they usually do. Ronald Acuña, Jr. is tearing the cover off of the ball and is in line for the early-season National League MVP, but Atlanta's outfield is a bit stretched with Ender Inciarte and Guillermo Heredia sidelined. This explains the slow start for an otherwise extremely powerful lineup.
The Braves bullpen is in far worse of a position. They have a combined 4.45 ERA on the season with a 4.40 xFIP, meaning this is about how they should perform this season.
Atlanta has had bullpen issues in the past, and they do not look like they have gone away. They have a few options, but only five have sub-4.00 ERAs, two of which, Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter, pitched Tuesday night. It is highly unlikely they are in use again for Wednesday’s game.
Blue Jays-Braves Pick
Given the consistency of Hyun-jin Ryu and his ability to keep the ball on the ground, the Braves will be limited in scoring opportunities. Max Fried has thrown the ball well in his last few outings, so the same could be in store for the Blue Jays.
However, the Blue Jays lineup is starting to heat up, and they are decent against lefties (103 wRC+). They should be able to get to Braves pitching. If Fried cannot make it past six innings, the largest discrepancy here is the weakness of the Braves bullpen. Take the Jays to -120.
Pick: Blue Jays -105 (play to -120)