Baseball is a funny sport. The Blue Jays are 8 games above .500 and 8 out of their division lead, while the Tigers are 10 games below .500 and just 6 games from first place. The point is that both teams still have a lot to play for, so let’s dig into the odds for this cross-divisional clash, where my prediction is a Tigers win and for the over to hit for a total of 9 runs.
Blue Jays Vs. Tigers Prediction
Alek Manoah once said that he doesn’t feel pressure, because “pressure is something you put in your tires.” Well, it turns out that Alek Manoah is someone you put in the minor leagues, where he got absolutely rocked by the Yankees’ rookie league team to the tune of 11 runs in less than 3 innings of work. He looked a bunch better in his most recent minor league start, but his MLB track record this season is just dreadful- a 1-7 record, 7.4 K/9, an ERA of 6.36 and perhaps most hilariously, -1.1 WAR.
If starting Manoah wasn’t enough of a disaster, his Blue Jays are coming off of a late double header, including an 11-inning game 1- which, to their credit, they did sweep- and then of course had to travel from Chicago to Detroit. Conversely, the Tigers were already at home, and were done trouncing the A’s well before dinnertime on Thursday afternoon.
One thing that cannot be forgotten here is simply how much better the AL East is than the Central- for instance, the Blue Jays just swept the White Sox immediately on the heels of being swept by the Red Sox. The Jays are a better team overall, there’s no doubt, but this is a tough situation for them with the recent workload combined with relying on the most disappointing pitcher in recent memory. It’s a tough one given the differential in team talent, especially offensively, but I’m picking the Tigers in this one. I’ll be fading Manoah until he forces me not to do so.
As for the total, that’s a bit easier. Alex Faedo has barely been better than Manoah, albeit with much lower expectations. He actually has an interesting profile with an ERA in the mid-5’s, but a WHIP below 1 across his few starts so far. His strikeout to walk ratio is solid, but he does give up some homers; I think he can do enough to “outduel” Manoah, but I feel great about the over in what is decidedly not a battle of aces.
Blue Jays Vs. Tigers Prediction: Tigers ML (+115), o9 (-120)
Blue Jays Vs. Tigers Odds
The Jays are favored with -135 odds in the return of Manoah, while the home squad are +115. For a total of 9, the under is an even +100 while the over is -120.
Blue Jays Vs. Tigers Key Matchups
Alek Manoah Vs. MLB Hitters
Yes, this matchup is hyper-unspecific, but at this point in time, any pro-caliber bat is a worthy challenge for Manoah. Luckily for him, this is a pretty decent spot to come back, since most of the Tigers’ top bats can be described as “viable” at best.
Riley Greene has been solid in his second pro season, but is currently hurt. He hasn’t played since late May, but could come back at some point in the Jays series. Kerry Carpenter is another outfielder who has come on strong in what is essentially his first season in The Show, he doesn’t technically have enough at bats to qualify but his .833 OPS is tops on the squad.
Matt Vierling has also been pretty solid, he has provided pretty good on-base ability for a team that really needs it. Zach McKinstry and Spencer Torkelson have been two of the steadiest presences in a rough lineup, both currently have an identical .709 OPS. Torkelson leads the team with 12 homers, while McKinstry’s numbers are more fueled by getting on base. Big-name bats like Javy Baez and Miguel Cabrera, in the moonlight of his career, have simply not performed, but these are guys who can give a big lift to the lineup on any given day.
Alex Faedo Vs. Power Bats
As I mentioned earlier, Faedo has had a tough time keeping the ball in the park. He’ll be facing a Jays team that is about average in the MLB in terms of total homers, but has a few guys that can do some particular damage.
One name that immediately comes to mind is Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is somewhat inexplicably participating in this year’s Home Run Derby. The young star only has 13 homers on the year, but we all know what he can do- he ripped 48 in 2021, before putting 32 in the stands in a “down year” last season. The team’s home run leader this year is actually Bo Bichette, who is having an excellent campaign. He has 15 homers to go along with a .320 batting average.
After those two, the Jays have four more home run hitters in double digits. Matt Chapman, Daulton Varsho, and George Springer have each ripped a dozen long balls, with Chapman putting up easily the best overall numbers. Catcher Danny Jansen is up next with 10 homers, in relatively limited plate appearances.
I don’t think they’ll do enough to lift Manoah to a win, especially with the bullpen particularly taxed after a big Thursday, but this lineup is a huge part of why I love over 9 runs in my Blue Jays vs. Tigers prediction.
Blue Jays Vs. Tigers Starting Lineups
Blue Jays Starting Lineup
RF G. Springer R
SS B. Bichette R
DH B. Belt L
1B V. Guerrero Jr. R
3B M. Chapman R
LF D. Varsho L
2B W. Merrifield R
C D. Jansen R
CF K. Kiermaier L
Tigers Starting Lineup
2B Z. McKinstry L
RF A. Ibanez R
1B S. Torkelson R
DH K. Carpenter L
LF M. Vierling R
SS J. Baez R
3B J. Schoop R
C E. Haase R
CF J. Marisnick R