All of the pressure is on the Blue Jays in their Game 2 matchup with the Mariners as they face elimination after being shut out in Game 1. Toronto will give the ball to Kevin Gausman, who will face the man he effectively replaced in the Blue Jays’ rotation: Reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. Can the Mariners complete the quick sweep and advance?
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Saturday’s game at Rogers Centre.
Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays Betting Odds
The Blue Jays are bigger favorites than they were in Game 1, entering at -162 on the moneyline with the over/under set at 7 runs.
Despite the Mariners’ complete shutdown of the Blue Jays’ lineup in Game 1, the odds don’t reflect a belief that Robbie Ray can keep that momentum going. It makes sense that Toronto would be a moderate favorite with home-field advantage and plenty of familiarity with Ray, but the Mariners are an intriguing value at +136 for anyone who believes the pressure will get to the Jays.
Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays Picks & Prediction
My pick: Blue Jays -1.5 (+138)
Blue Jays moneyline doesn’t give you great value, so I’ll take the extra run at a better price. Robbie Ray is coming off a tough finish to the season and might be feeling some emotions in his first start at Rogers Centre since he left the Blue Jays. We also haven’t seen Ray in the postseason with fans in the stands since 2017 with Arizona, when he struggled. The Blue Jays’ talented lineup should hit well enough to extend their season at least one more day.
Seattle Mariners Starting Lineup
CF J. Rodriguez R
1B T. France R
RF M. Haniger R
3B E. Suarez R
DH C. Santana S
C C. Raleigh S
SS J. Crawford L
LF J. Kelenic L
2B A. Frazier L
Seattle Mariners vs. Kevin Gausman
Kevin Gausman hasn’t had the exact same success he had in San Francisco last season, but he’s pretty much been what the Blue Jays hoped he would be. Gausman posted a 3.35 ERA over 31 starts, recording a strong 2.83 FIP but a more concerning 1.24 WHIP.
Gausman’s hit rate went up to 9.7 per nine this year, though he improved with home runs and walks. His FIP indicates some of the hits he gave up weren’t his fault, and luckily he’s facing a Mariners lineup that isn’t known for stringing hits together.
The Mariners had a .705 OPS this season, near the middle of the pack, but they were top-10 in home runs. As we saw Friday with Cal Raleigh, if you lose to the Mariners, it’s usually the result of giving up a home run or two. Raleigh, Eugenio Suarez, Mitch Haniger, and of course Julio Rodriguez are all significant power threats.
If Gausman can suppress the home run ball, this should be a favorable matchup for him. It’s worth noting Raleigh homered off Gausman when these two met back in May, while both Ty France and Adam Frazier were able to manage two hits.
Toronto Blue Jays Starting Lineup
CF G. Springer R
SS B. Bichette R
1B V. Guerrero R
DH A. Kirk R
3B M. Chapman R
RF T. Hernandez R
LF R. Tapia L
C D. Jansen R
2B W. Merrifield R
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Robbie Ray
The Blue Jays should be familiar with Robbie Ray, who won a Cy Young in Toronto a season ago. Ray hasn’t been the same dominant pitcher he was in 2021, but he’s shown flashes of that. Ray posted a 3.71 ERA over 32 starts (189 IP) this season, with a 4.17 FIP and 1.19 WHIP. While he’s kept hits fairly low and continues to be a strikeout artist – leading to some brilliant outings – he’s had a longstanding problem with home runs and has seen control issues pop up at times this year.
The Blue Jays were 4th in baseball this season with 4.78 runs/game, the highest mark of any of the eight teams playing this weekend. Familiarity or not, Toronto could give Ray a tough time in a raucous environment. This is a Blue Jays lineup that doesn’t strike out often and has plenty of power threats at the top. Even when Luis Castillo had his best stuff working on Friday, he only struck out five Blue Jays.
If Toronto can make contact and add a couple extra baserunners by taking advantage of Ray’s shaky control, it should be a better day at the plate. The Blue Jays perform slightly worse against left-handers, but it’s not enough of a gap to be concerned.
Even with his control issues, Ray has done a nice job of giving the Mariners length this season, but everyone other than Andres Munoz in the Mariners’ bullpen is well-rested.