Series win is on the line
After splitting the first two games of this weekday series, the Blue Jays and Giants will meet once more for the rubber match this Thursday night. Let’s take a look at the odds for this engaging matchup between two cross-league contenders, where my prediction is for a Giants ML win.
Giants Vs. Blue Jays Prediction
It’s been a curiously low-scoring pair of games to start this series, with a 3-0 Giants win to open things up before the Jays struck back with a 6-1 victory of their own. These teams are both decidedly bat-first, so it’ll be interesting to see how that trend plays out in the final matchup of the series- but more on that later.
The Giants are firmly back in the NL West race. After a profoundly mediocre 2022, a strange offseason, and a lukewarm start to this campaign, many wondered out loud if their outstanding 2021 regular season was nothing more than a fluke. Now, on the strength of a recent 10-game win streak, the Giants are being viewed as contenders once more, and are just 2.5 games out of the division lead..
Conversely, the Blue Jays were viewed by most as a contender coming into this season, but they have played about .500 ball of late, and are just over that mark on the season (.543, on pace for less than 90 wins). They picked up a really nice win last night, with the bullpen chipping in well and the lineup hanging some rare early runs on Logan Webb, so they’ll look to build on that momentum in tonight’s game and beyond.
For the moneyline, I’m going with the road squad to secure the series, and am ecstatic to be able to grab them in plus-odds. Bassitt is simply not in good form, with a negative WAR on the season and 17 runs allowed (15 earned) over his past 3 starts (11.2 IP). And of course, the Giants are playing decidedly strong baseball right now, and while they are most likely rolling with a bullpen game, that bullpen has been very effective, so I’m comfortable riding the hot hand and picking them to win .
For the listed run scoring total of 9, I would lean towards the over. Bassitt is not throwing particularly well right now, and the Jays offense- 3rd in the league in batting average and 8th in OPS- should be able to scratch together some runs even against a solid Giants bullpen.
Giants Vs. Blue Jays Prediction: Giants ML (+130), o9 runs (-120)
Giants Vs. Blue Jays Odds
As the home squad but with a likely pitching disadvantage, the Blue Jays are slight favorites with -150 odds compared to +130 for the Giants. For the run scoring total of 9, the over is -120 while the under is even money at +100.
Giants Vs. Blue Jays Key Matchups
List out a couple of key matchups to watch out for this game. 1-2 is fine.
Giants Bullpen Vs. A Deep Blue Jays Lineup
The Giants’ probable starter is still listed as TBD as I write this, so it’s looking like it’s going to be another bullpen game, something they have not shied away from this year. Nor should they, as their ‘pen has been solid with the 9th-best ERA in baseball despite taking on a larger workload than most.
In terms of offensive output, the Jays have been pretty consistent from inning to inning, so the factor of the Giants taking a less-traditional approach shouldn’t necessarily change too much for prognosticating their offense.
One interesting factor is that catcher Alejandro Kirk may come back from injury Thursday, but Danny Jansen, his replacement, has had a hotter bat this year in a similar sample size. It’ll be interesting to see how the Blue Jays handle that positional battle going forward, although both will surely get plenty of opportunities in a platoon situation.
Jansen is one of 6 Jays with double-digit home runs at the halfway mark of the season, a group led by Bo Bichette with 14. He has been the Jays’ best hitter by almost every measure this season, including an impressive 3.7 WAR and an AL-best .323 batting average. Matt Chapman, George Springer, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have all been below their highest level of play, but are still important contributors for this offense.
Chris Bassitt Vs. Lefty Bats
Jays starter Chris Bassitt is a right-hander who unsurprisingly gets crushed by left-handers, to the tune of a .972 OPS. It’s a rough trend within a rough stretch of a rough year for Bassitt, who has been mediocre overall and really tough to watch of late. He’s struggled a lot with both velocity and spin, as he’s within the bottom-20 percent of pitchers in those categories for most pitch types.
Unfortunately for Bassitt, many of the best Giants bats are actually lefties. Leadoff man LaMonte Wade Jr. has had a legitimate breakout campaign so far, as he leads qualified Giants with an OBP of .415 and an OPS of .876. Michael Conforto, another lefty bat, leads the squad with a dozen homers, and a third left-hander, Joc Pederson, is right behind Wade in terms of rate-based stats, albeit in limited time.
Righties Thairo Estrada and J.D. Davis have also been major contributors for San Francisco this season, and have basically no platoon split- their OPS against right- and left-handed pitching are separated by single digits. Bassitt’s recent performance paired with the Giants’ ability to get after righties is a major reason I have the Giants winning in my Giants vs. Blue Jays prediction.
Giants Vs. Blue Jays Starting Lineups
Giants Starting Lineup
1B L. Wade L
2B T. Estrada R
3B J. Davis R
DH J. Pederson L
C P. Bailey S
RF M. Conforto L
LF B. Sabol L
SS B. Crawford L
CF L. Matos R
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
CF D. Varsho L
LF W. Merrifield R
C D. Jansen R
2B C. Biggio L