This weekend will feature the season’s first matchup between the Yankees and Blue Jays, two preseason AL East favorites. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for this heated divisional clash where my projection is for a high-scoring contest where a wager of over 9 runs cashes. The Yankees are currently -130 on the moneyline per DraftKings sportsbook.
Blue Jays Vs. Yankees Prediction
The Blue Jays are coming off of a tough stretch of games, in which they became the first team to break through against the Rays, but then dropped two of three against a struggling Astros squad. Now, they have another stiff test, one of their most important in this young season.
Similarly, this is one of New York’s first AL East challenges. New York is playing well, although unevenly, as the injury bug has already hit; three of the team’s potential top-five starting pitchers are already on the IL. They haven’t lost a series yet, but they also haven’t put together a sweep, so finding consistency will be a real focus for the Bronx Bombers in this three-game set.
The Yanks will be throwing Domingo German, who struggled through his first two starts of the season before bouncing back magnificently with a gem against the Twins. Yes, there was a bit of a sticky substance flare up, but it seems to have been resolved; German simply had a great day.
His counterpart will be Yusei Kikuchi, a one-time All Star in Seattle where he generally struggled, before crossing over to Toronto last year and struggling possibly worse than ever before. He’s once again off to a rough start to the year in terms of ERA and other measurables, but all three of his starts thus far have resulted in a win for the team.
This one is pretty straightforward to me; these teams feature great offenses, and neither is throwing one of their top starting pitchers. The over is going to be in play- even-money odds are too good to pass up, even at a number like 9 runs. For the result, I’m sticking with the home team; their disgustingly righty-heavy lineup should actually benefit them against the lefty Kikuchi, who has nasty platoon splits.
Blue Jays Vs. Yankees Prediction: Yankees ML (-130), o9 runs (-110)
Blue Jays Vs. Yankees Odds
The Yankees are favored at home, with a moneyline of -130 compared to +110 for Toronto. For a run spread of 1.5, the Yanks are +160 to cover while the Jays are -190. The scoring total is set at 9, with both sides dead even at -110.
Blue Jays Vs. Yankees Key Matchups
Yusei Kikuchi Vs. Top of the Yankees Lineup
With starters such as Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Harrison Bader out with various injuries, the Yankees lineup is pretty top-heavy. Yes, there’s exceptions to this rule, such as some big hits out of Jose Trevino and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa on Thursday against the Angels. But for the most part, the offensive production is going to come from the first few spots of the lineup, which Kikuchi will have to navigate carefully.
Obviously, the biggest name is Aaron Judge and there’s quite literally nothing I can say about him that hasn’t been said already, often by me. He’s off to a somewhat slow start by his own ridiculous standards, but he remains the best bat in baseball.
At the top of the lineup is rookie Anthony Volpe, who is settling in nicely; the overall numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet just yet, but he’s been getting on base at nearly a .500 clip over his past 30 or so plate appearances, and once he gets there, he’s as dangerous a baserunner as anyone in the game. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to have that kind of impact with a left-hander on the mound.
The hottest start on the team belongs to Anthony Rizzo, who is loving the post-shift World. He doesn’t have crazy platoon splits, but as one of the very few lefties, Kikuchi will have to take opportunities against the veteran first baseman if he wants to limit the offense overall.
Lastly, there’s Gleyber Torres, who started even hotter than Rizzo but has since cooled down. Unlike Rizzo, he does have some solid platoon splits, so maybe a day against a shaky lefty could help him snap out of his mini-funk.
Domingo German Vs. True-Outcome Hitters
For those who are unfamiliar with “true outcomes,” these are the fielding-independent results; a home run, a walk, or a strikeout. These are representing a higher and higher proportion of what we see in the modern game, and German is a pretty good example of that.
He’s struggled at times to keep the ball in the yard, and early this season, his walks and strikeouts are both up. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out on Friday against Toronto, and of course throughout the season at large.
There’s a few hitters in the Toronto lineup who stand out when it comes to true-outcome offense. One is Matt Chapman, who has struck out over 200 times in a season, and was punched out 170 times last year in his Toronto debut campaign. But he’s a dangerous bat, perhaps now more than ever as he’s leading the AL in OPS, both of its components, and batting average to start the season.
Bo Bichette is another player who strikes out a bit; almost 300 times over the past two seasons. But he led the league in hits both of those seasons, which he’s also doing right now, so he’s not to be taken lightly. Then there’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who, a bit like his dad, doesn’t strike out quite as much as other sluggers, but still a good amount, and of course can absolutely slam the ball, as he did in 2021 when he led the AL with 48 homers, according to Baseball Reference.
There’s a lot of threats up and down the Jays lineup, but if German has his best stuff, he’s capable of taking control and doing more than enough to keep the Yankees in this ballgame. Still, the stars of the Toronto offense are a major reason I have over 9 runs hitting in my Blue Jays vs. Yankees Prediction.
Blue Jays Vs. Yankees Starting Lineups
Blue Jays Starting Lineup
DH G. Springer R
SS B. Bichette R
1B V. Guerrero Jr. R
LF D. Varsho L
3B M. Chapman R
C A. Kirk R
2B W. Merrifield R
CF K. Kiermaier L
RF N. Lukes L
Yankees Starting Lineup
SS A. Volpe R
RF A. Judge R
1B A. Rizzo L
DH G. Torres R
3B D. LeMahieu R
2B O. Peraza R
LF O. Cabrera S
C J. Trevino R
CF I. Kiner-Falefa R