It’s a 10-game MLB schedule going this evening with plenty of profitable picks across the board.
We’ll go ahead and zero in on this Blue Jays vs. A’s pick and see if we can get our week started on the right note!
- Season Record: 5-5
- Units: -0.64
Blue Jays vs. A’s Betting Odds
- Blue Jays (+106)
- A’s (-116)
- Blue Jays +1.5 (-197)
- A’s -1.5 (+172)
- Over 8.5 (-107)
- Under 8.5 (-113)
Blue Jays vs. A’s MLB Pick Breakdown
One of the lower-key offseason additions for a Blue Jays club that had a busy winter was former Mets left-hander Steven Matz who won a rotation spot in spring training and has largely been what the clubs hoped we would be when they brought him on board.
Sure, his latest outing was a rough one. Matz lasted just 3.2 innings while yielding six earned runs on eight hits — including a homer — and a walk. That said, the southpaw allowed just six runs across the first four starts of the season combined, going at least six innings in three of his five starts this season.
After getting tagged by the Nats, his surface number line up nicely with the peripherals. Matz will enter this one sporting an ERA of exactly 4.00, but he also owns a quality 3.78 FIP, 3.96 xFIP, 3.48 xERA and 3.93 SIERA. It appears the licking he took his last time out was the regression required to get his numbers to align solidly across the board.
Home runs actually haven’t been an issue with three allowed in 27 innings, good for a solid 1.00 HR/9. His 3.00 BB/9 is more or less in line with his 2.80 career mark and his 9.00 K/9 is a little above his career 8.59 mark. Add in the Statcast metrics that have him pegged well into the top-half of the league in terms of hard-hit rate, average exit velocity, xSLG, xBA, barrel rate and xERA and there’s plenty to back up his solid work so far.
Matz was made available by the Mets after struggling mightily to a 9.68 ERA/7.76 FIP in six starts and nine appearances last season, but he’s largely been a reliable mid-to-back-end rotation arm throughout his big-league career and that’s been the case to this point here in the 2021 season.
This Blue Jays offense was expected to be a force here in the 2021 season with a combination of youth and veterans after adding George Springer and Marcus Semien in the offseason, and the club flexed plenty of that expected muscle in their weekend sweep of the Braves.
The Jays’ offense erupted for 26 runs across the three-game set as they pounded some quality arms in Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson along the way. They also put some serious hurt on a Braves bullpen that ranked among the best in baseball a season ago.
They touched up some right-hander starters in that series, and they’ll face another one tonight. Therefore, we’ll note that the Jays rank 15th in baseball with a .305 wOBA versus right-handed pitching and tied for 13th with a .164 ISO. Certainly not spectacular numbers, but I have a feeling they’re just getting started as this lineup is just too talented and too deep to linger around the middle of the pack.
From an overall standpoint, they rank 10th with a .313 wOBA on the season and Statcast puts them at 10th as well in terms of their 40.8% hard-hit rate. Those numbers certainly got a boost over the weekend.
We’ll see if the offense tear can continue in this one tonight.
The Blue Jays lost closer Kirby Yates to Tommy John surgery before the season began while Julian Merryweather hit the IL early in the season after some dominant outings as the team’s new closer. Despite the injuries to some key arms, this group just keeps rollin’ on.
The Blue Jays will enter this one sporting a fourth-ranked 2.61 ERA from their bullpen this season while their 3.70 FIP and 3.85 xFIP rank seventh and ninth, respectively. They’ve kept the ball in the yard at a quality 0.95 HR/9 rate while their 48.5% ground-ball rate is the sixth-lowest in the bigs.
Their 37.5% Statcast hard-hit rate ranks 13th, but their 6% barrel rate ranks seventh and explains the quality home run number mentioned above. Add in the seventh-ranked 87.4 mph average exit velocity and the Jays’ bullpen has indeed been one of the better groups in baseball despite some injury woes.
They’ll look to keep up the good work as they head to Oakland to start a three-game series tonight.
The A’s will send right-hander Frankie Montas to the bump to kick off the series tonight as he makes his fifth sixth start of the season, although the numbers aren’t great through the first four.
Montas will carry a 6.20 ERA/5.22 FIP into action while his 4.41 xFIP and 4.95 xERA aren’t exactly great numbers, either. Montas does own a 4.07 SIERA that stems from a healthy 9.12 K/9 against a quality 2.55 BB/9, but home runs have killed him as he’s allowed 2.19 HR/9 thanks in part to a fly-ball rate that’s snuck over 40% on the season.
FanGraphs has Montas pegged at just 27.2% hard contact against, but Statcast disagrees. They have hit him with 40.7% hard contact against, a number they say ranks in the league’s 42nd percentile while his other metrics aren’t exactly inspiring, either. Montas is also ranked in the 25th percentile in xwOBA, 25th in xERA, 33rd in xBA, 13th in xSLG and worst of all, 7th in barrel rate at a whopping 14.8% in the early going.
Surely Montas won’t carry an ERA north of 6.00 much longer, however. In fact, three of his five starts have been very good, going six innings with three earned runs or less in his three quality starts, two of which were one run or less. That said, he’s been tagged for a combined 13 runs across just 6.2 innings in his other two starts, so he’s been a little volatile here in the early going.
After six innings of three-run ball against the Rays his last time out, we’ll see if the 28-year-old can make it back-to-back quality starts despite the tough matchup in this one.
The A’s offense has been rather mediocre through the first month of the season relative to the rest of the league that’s largely struggled on the whole.
They’ll enter this one tied for 15th with a .306 wOBA on the season, although their wRC+ of 104 moves them up to eighth as they factor in the pitcher-friendly confines of the O.Co Coliseum. Their . 167 ISO checks in at a share of 12th while their 20 stolen bases actually puts them fifth in baseball.
Against left-handed pitching, the A’s have turned in a superior .324 wOBA that ties the Red Sox for 11th league wide while their .197 ISO off of southpaws moves all the way up to third in the league.
Since seeing their lengthy winning streak come to a conclusion, the offense has scuffled a bit. They did score 11 runs over their final two games against the Orioles over the weekend, but have also averaged just 3.14 runs per game over seven since that winning streak ended. They’ve scored four runs or less in six of those seven games and two runs or less in three of the seven, so their offense has certainly been cooled after going on that epic run.
They roughed up a young starter in Bruce Zimmermann on Sunday as part of a seven-run effort, so we’ll see what they can do against some increased competition tonight.
The A’s have owned a real good bullpen for a few years now, and that’s pretty much been the case here again in 2021.
The A’s sport a eighth-ranked 3.55 ERA at the moment, although their 3.93 FIP slips to 12th and their 4.46 xFIP to 21st. One problem has been the inability to generate strikeouts as they rank 29th with an 8.08 K/9 on the season, as plenty of balls are being put into play.
Like the Jays, the A’s lost their closer before they season was able to begin as Trevor Rosenthal — hired as Liam Hendriks’ replacement this offseason — underwent thoracic outlet surgery that may have ended his season before it began.
Nonetheless, it’s been a group effort from some unheralded names such as Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman and Deolis Garcia. The former two have been productive in the past, and closer Lou Trivino owns a 1.13 ERA on the season despite also posting a 4.36 xERA that certainly suggests some notable regression moving forward.
That said, Diekman, Petit and Trivino all pitched in yesterday’s win, leaving their availability in doubt on back-to-back nights tonight.
Blue Jays vs. A’s MLB Pick
The way the Jays have swung the bats of late and how well Oakland has hit lefties this season makes the Over 8.5 attractive here. That said, the bullpens here are giving me hesitation on that front despite what could happen before they arrive.
Rather, I see value on the Blue Jays despite the travel from Florida to California for this one.
Montas should improve as we move along here, but he’s been roughed up a couple times in five starts this season in a big way, and this Jays offense is scorching hot here. It’s also a healthy lineup at the moment despite George Springer leaving yesterday’s game in the sixth inning. It’s a lineup that’s lurked in the weeds a little bit early on, but I’d be shocked if this wasn’t a top-10 offense at the end of the day. It’s a group with top-five potential.
Matz has allowed nine runs over his last two starts and Oakland has hit lefties well, but it’s a small sample. They finished 23rd with a .301 wOBA in a larger 2020 sample, and as noted, Matz has been solid throughout the spring into the season, minus the Nationals hiccup.
Add in the Jays’ advantage in the bullpen and I’ll take the road underdog to kick off a three-game set from Oakland.