In the first two games of this four-game set between the Blue Jays and Guardians, we have seen the pitchers dominate, as there have been five total runs scored in the series. We’ll preview tonight’s matchup before going over my play for the first five innings.
Tonight will mark the third straight game in which the Guardians are sending out a rookie starter, with Logan Allen taking the mound for them, and if he throws anything like his rookie counterparts, Cleveland will be in a good spot. Despite losing the series' first game, Gavin Williams gave Cleveland a strong outing, but last night, Tanner Bibee led his team in their 1-0 win by throwing seven shutout innings with six punchouts.
Ramon Laureano, who the team claimed off waivers a few days back, delivered the lone RBI in the game with his RBI double. Logan Allen will at least be hoping for more run support tonight as he takes the mound for the 17th time this season. The lefty is fresh off his fifth win of the year, in which he went six innings and allowed two earned runs against the White Sox.
Allen will take on a Blue Jays offense tonight that went from scoring five or more runs in all three of their games against the Red Sox to being shut out last night. Despite outhitting the Guardians 9-3, Toronto could not come up with a late rally for the second straight night, which resulted in them leaving 17 runners on base. The inability to find the run column wasted a strong outing from Yusei Kikuchi, who took the loss after allowing just one earned run on three hits in seven innings.
Tonight will be the first time in the series that Toronto throws a right-hander, with Kevin Gausman getting the ball. The veteran righty was hit hard by the Orioles in his last outing, allowing three earned runs on eight hits. Overall, Gausman is still having a strong season, boasting a 3.20 ERA across 132 innings of work.
The Blue Jays F5 run-line of (-.5) is currently priced at (-120), and I’ll be backing them for my play. Toronto’s offense has gotten off to a brutal start in this series, but tonight they will face what might be the key to them breaking out, which is a lefty starter. With their success against lefties and Gausman’s ability to pitch on the road, Toronto should start this game with advantages on both sides of the ball.
Since July 9th, the Toronto Blue Jays are hitting .341 in 159 plate appearances against left-handed pitching on the road. Not only do they have the best batting average in that split, but they also have the highest SLG, OPS, wOBA, and wRC+, so it will be tough for Logan Allen to follow his teammates’ footsteps this series. It also doesn’t help Allen that he is in the 28th percentile in expected batting average and has a 4.43 xFIP at home.
The Guardians' offense has shown their struggles to produce runs against lefties consistently, but their success against righties is not much better. Over the last month, Cleveland ranks 19th in wRC+ and 15th in OPS against right-handed pitching at home. Now they face Kevin Gausman, who is in the 62nd percentile for expected and has a 3.29 FIP on the road.
Toronto Blue Jays F5 (-.5)(-120)