Oakland Athletics vs Toronto Blue Jays (4/16/22) Starting Lineup, Betting Odds, Prediction

It’s always fun when these two teams meet up. Both the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics are well-run organizations with smart management and good coaching.

Unfortunately, these are two teams trending in opposite directions.

Toronto has put together a star-studded roster led by an MVP candidate, and the team is primed to win the World Series this season.

Oakland has stripped down its roster and looks primed to lose 100 games.

But the A’s are always more than the sum of their parts. The A’s are 4-3 on the young season and should be competitive in most games.

Does this toughness continue tonight? Or will the Blue Jays score 15 runs and run the A’s out of the Rogers Centre?

Oakland Athletics vs Toronto Blue Jays Betting Odds

Thoughts on the odds, how you see the game playing out, etc

It sucks when an MLB team is laying over 2-to-1. It sucks all the value out of betting on the good team and almost forces you to bet on the underdog.

Remember, we’re betting on a sport where the worst team in the league wins 60 games.

So, we either have to bet the ‘dog or find a creative way to back the Blue Jays.

The over looks low at 9, however.

Oakland Athletics Starting Lineup

2B Tony Kemp L
SS Elvis Andrus R
C Sean Murphy R
RF Chad Pinder R
1B Seth Brown L
DH Jed Lowrie S
3B Kevin Smith R
LF Sheldon Neuse R
CF Christian Pache R

Oakland Athletics vs Paul Blackburn

I literally forgot Paul Blackburn existed.

He got called up back in 2017 but has only made 28 starts since. It’s been injuries and poor pitching that has kept him out of the rotation.

But with Oakland having shipped off half its roster, the A’s will have to fall back on Blackburn out of necessity.

He’s a career 4.50 xFIP guy who will likely be nothing more than an innings eater.

However, he had the start of his career in Tampa Bay last week. He pitched five shutout innings and struck out seven while walking just one. The dangerous Tampa lineup only managed three measly hits against Blackburn’s arsenal.

That arsenal looks much more dangerous when Blackburn’s curveball is working, which it was that day. He’s thrown it more and more the past few seasons. It breaks late and drops off the face of the planet.

However, can he get any pitches past this Toronto lineup?

Toronto is cooking right now, slugging at the third-highest rate in the league (.430). The Jays are also top-five in both hard-hit rate (44.4%) and average exit velocity (90.1mph).

The whole lineup is dangerous, but you have to start with Vladimir Guerroro Jr. Vladdy has already hit four home runs through the first week of the season and has posted a 1.172 OPS with the 12th-highest wRC+ (229).

Blackburn may be feeling himself, but this is the best lineup in baseball.

Toronto Blue Jays Starting Lineup

CF George Springer R
SS Bo Bichette R
1B Vladimir Guerrero R
LF Lourdes Gurriel R
DH Alejandro Kirk R
3B Matt Chapman R
RF Raimel Tapia L
2B Santiago Espinal R
C Zack Collins L

Toronto Blue Jays vs Hyun Jin-Ryu

I’ve always liked Hyun Jin Ryu. He was good in his KBO days and had a few dominant seasons with the Dodgers. I thought it was a great pickup by Toronto to pair him with Jose Berrios and Robbie Ray.

Last season was a slight disappointment. He made 31 starts and posted a BB/9 under 2.00. But his strikeout rate dropped heavily and his 4.37 ERA was a career-high.

His xFIP was down around 3.94, so there is some regression coming. But that was his highest mark since 2017 and after posting a 4.9 WAR season in 2019, he accrued just 2.5 this season.

Ryu hopefully can bounce back in a strong way against this lowly Oakland lineup, because he’s not off to a good start. He gave up six earned after facing only 17 Ranger batters, escaping the 3 ⅓ innings with a 16.25 ERA and a 6.32 xFIP.

Ryu’s xFIP was about 3.31 after the start, so it’s not time to panic yet. But, he needs to get it together.

Oakland’s lineup has been league average after the first week. And for a team with such low expectations, that’s good! Elvis Andrus has been the unlikely breakout star, posting a 180 OPS+ with five extra-base hits and four walks over 30 PAs.

And don’t overlook Jed Lowrie. The guy can still rake, and he has a 146 OPS+ to prove it.

Oakland Athletics vs Toronto Blue Jays Picks & Prediction

My pick: Oakland Athletics ML (+195 at Caesars)

I think there’s enough value on Oakland to take a shot at this line.

Ryu is clearly struggling with something, and Blackburn might continue to pitch great.

The Athletics are always frisky. And I bet they win this game more times than the line implies.

Keep the bet small, but it’s worth betting on the A’s Saturday afternoon.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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