Every single game matters for the Blue Jays until further notice. Toronto’s chase for a wild card spot continues with a Saturday matchup against the Guardians, and the Jays will have to deal with one of Cleveland’s impressive rookie starters. Logan Allen will be on the hill for the Guardians while Hyun-Jim Ryu starts for Toronto. The Blue Jays are home favorites at -164 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Saturday’s matchup and break down why the Blue Jays can hold serve and earn a win.
Guardians vs. Blue Jays Prediction
This talented Blue Jays team will let you down when you least expect it, so there’s always risk putting your money down. Still, Toronto looks like a team that should be able to pull out a win on Saturday.
Ryu has bucked the trend of Tommy John pitchers needing time to get back to peak performance, and that probably has much to do with the fact he doesn’t rely on velocity. Ryu has proven he can give the Blue Jays a good five innings, which should be doable against a Guardians team that sits 29th in runs per game. Toronto’s bullpen has also stabilized since the trade deadline and can go head-to-head with Cleveland’s.
Contact bats Whit Merrifield and Bo Bichette went a combined 0-8 on Friday night, which isn’t sustainable. Even with some disappointing pieces in the lineup, the Blue Jays should be able to take advantage of Logan Allen’s control issues. Allen’s FIP and walk rate indicate he’s due for some regression, and Toronto hits an impressive .275 against lefties. Contact should get the job done and lead the Blue Jays to snap their skid.
Guardians vs. Blue Jays Prediction: Blue Jays Moneyline (-164)
Guardians vs. Blue Jays Odds
The Blue Jays are moderate home favorites at -164 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8.5 runs.
Toronto has hit a skid, between Friday night’s loss to the Guardians and losses to the Orioles, but this is a Blue Jays team whose inconsistency is no longer a surprise. The Jays still have much more upside than the light-hitting Guardians, and their chances of a bounce-back performance seem pretty strong on Saturday.
Guardians vs. Blue Jays Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Guardians vs. Blue Jays.
Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Pitch Count
Ryu will make his fifth start since returning from Tommy John Surgery, and the Blue Jays are predictably still being cautious with the veteran. He hasn’t gone more than five innings in any of his four starts, with a season-high pitch count of 86.
If Ryu is limited to 90 pitches on Saturday, it might be smart for the Guardians’ lineup to be patient and try to get him out as early as possible. So far, Ryu has a 1.89 ERA through 19 IP and has looked formidable even as he jumped right into high-pressure games.
The Blue Jays’ bullpen has actually been pretty impressive since the trade deadline, carrying a sub-3 ERA in August, but a Cleveland offense that has very little power will want to take its chances with a handful of relievers instead of just Toronto’s best.
Blue Jays vs. Logan Allen’s Control Issues
Allen has posted a very respectable rookie season to this point, but control issues have been a red flag. He’s averaging three walks per start over his last five outings, and his FIP sits over 4.00 largely because he’s been fortunate to work around the walks. If Allen continues to struggle in that department, he probably will see some regression.
The Blue Jays are slightly below average in terms of walks, averaging 3.24 per game. If Toronto does get some free passes, the lineup could be well positioned to drive in runs.
The Blue Jays are hitting .275 against left-handed pitchers, and they have hit machine Bo Bichette back in the lineup after an IL stint. After Bichette and Whit Merrifield were held hitless on Friday night, the pendulum should swing back their way against Allen (8.5 H/9).
Guardians vs. Blue Jays Starting Lineups
Guardians Starting Lineup
CF Steven Kwan L
3B Jose Ramirez S
1B Kole Calhoun L
DH Oscar Gonzalez R
2B Andres Gimenez L
RF Will Brennan L
SS Gabriel Arias R
C Bo Naylor L
CF Myles Straw R
Blue Jays Starting Lineup
2B Whit Merrifield R
SS Bo Bichette R
DH Brandon Belt L
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. R
RF George Springer R
LF Daulton Varsho L
3B Matt Chapman R
C Alejandro Kirk R
CF Kevin Kiermaier L