This one could be a lot of fun. Gerrit Cole and Alek Manoah are two of the most confident aces in baseball, and they’ll meet again at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. They’ve been on different tracks this season, with Cole looking like a Cy Young contender and Manoah struggling, but neither start looks completely sustainable. The Yankees enter as home favorites at -175 on the moneyline, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Let’s make predictions for Saturday afternoon’s matchup and dive into why the Yankees can bounce back from a loss and even the series with their ace on the mound.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Prediction
The Yankees haven’t lost a series yet this season, and they’re in a good position to avoid another for at least one more day. Right now, it’s very difficult to bet against Cole. He’s carved up lineups early this season and, to this point, has taken care of his one major issue from even his best seasons: home runs.
There’s some concern about regression to the mean against a Blue Jays lineup littered with power threats, and a home run or two is possible.
Still, it’s tough to fully count on Manoah returning to 2022 form when he’s been so shaky early this season. The Yankees’ offense should have a better day than it did Friday night and continue to give Cole run support. A league-best bullpen also gives New York a big advantage over Toronto in a close game. Yankees -145 is the best bet here until we see something different from Cole.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Prediction: Yankees -158
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Odds
The Yankees enter as home favorites at -158 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8 runs with Cole and Manoah on the mound.
It’s no surprise to see the Yankees favored at home given how dominant Cole has been so far this season. If anything, this line – though it’s shifted a bit farther in New York’s favor – might have decent value for Yankees bettors who believe the pitching trends between these two teams will continue for at least one more day.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Blue Jays vs. Yankees.
Blue Jays Power Hitters vs. Gerrit Cole
Cole has been totally dominant this season, coming off a complete game shutout and notching 8+ strikeouts in three of his four starts. It’s a given that he’ll miss some bats in this Blue Jays lineup, but Toronto can burn him by flashing some power.
The Blue Jays know how to hit home runs, and Cole historically gives up plenty of them. He allowed an AL-worst 33 homers in 2022 and has given up 24+ home runs in four of his last six seasons.
So far, that hasn’t been the case this season. No one has homered off of Cole in four starts. That’s destined to end soon, and with a Blue Jays lineup that has plenty of pop playing in a hitter-friendly environment, there’s no reason Toronto can’t do a little bit of damage on Saturday if the bats stay hot.
What if, even after Manoah’s struggles early in the season, we get the pitchers’ duel many expect here? The bullpen battle could tilt the game. Through the season’s first three weeks, the advantage lies with the Yankees. New York’s 2.04 bullpen ERA is the best in baseball and best in the AL by nearly a run.
The Blue Jays took steps to try to address their bullpen issues in the offseason, but it’s still been a below-average unit with a 4.20 ERA. If the Blue Jays can’t get to Cole and are forced to play from behind or in a close game in the late innings, this is where the Yankees can win the game. The bullpen’s excellence is a major reason why Cole is 4-0, along with his own dominance.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Starting Lineups
Blue Jays Starting Lineup
CF George Springer R
SS Bo Bichette R
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. R
3B Matt Chapman R
LF Daulton Varsho
C Alejandro Kirk R
DH Brandon Belt L
2B Whit Merrifield R
CF Kevin Kiermaier L
Yankees Starting Lineup
SS Anthony Volpe R
CF Aaron Judge R
1B Anthony Rizzo L
DH Gleyber Torres R
2B DJ LeMahieu R
DH Willie Calhoun L
LF Oswaldo Cabrera S
C Jose Trevino R
RF Franchy Cordero L