Folks, we’re down to the final weekend of the 2021 Major League Baseball season.
It’s still an extremely crucial weekend for many teams around the big leagues, including the Toronto Blue Jays who pretty much need a three-game sweep of the last-place Baltimore Orioles to have any shot at one of the two Wild Card spots in the junior circuit.
So, let’s get right in on the action with an Orioles vs. Blue Jays MLB Pick from Toronto!
Orioles vs. Blue Jays Betting Odds
|Orioles||+305||+1.5 (+159)||Over 10 (-101)|
|Blue Jays||-345||-1.5 (-179)||Under 10 (-119)|
Orioles vs. Blue Jays Starting Pitching Breakdown
The Orioles managed to play a nice spoiler role in taking two of three from the Red Sox this week in Baltimore, and if they’re to do similar damage to the Jays they’re going to need a big effort from right-hander Tom Eshelman who has struggled mightily wherever he’s pitched this season.
Eshelman will enter tonight’s series opener sporting a 7.20 ERA/6.20 FIP on the season to along with a 4.98 xERA, 6.28 xFIP and 6.07 SIERA. Eshelman hasn’t missed many bats at all with a 3.96 K/9 that sits just above his 3.60 BB/9 clip while home runs have been an issue with a 1.80 HR/9 on the campaign.
While that represents just 25 innings of work at the MLB level this season between five starts and three relief appearances, it was a tough go for the 27-year-old at Triple-A as well in 30 innings between three starts and 12 relief appearances. Eshelman was tattooed for a 7.80 ERA/5.56 FIP and a 1.80 HR/9 in that time at the minors’ highest level.
Tonight actually marks the right-hander’s first MLB start since July 10 when he allowed four earned runs in just two inning against the White Sox. He’s made a pair of relief appearances with the O’s of late, faring well in 3.2 frames of one-run ball with just two hits and zero walks allowed in that time.
Nonetheless, here’s a pitcher that sports a career 5.74 ERA/6.46 FIP with a 2.26 HR/9 across 30 appearances (13 starts) and 95.2 innings at the big-league level, leaving the Orioles’ pitching picture looking rather bleak in a tough matchup tonight.
Countering the right-hander for the Orioles will be Jays lefty Steven Matz who takes the ball for his 29th start of the season for the Jays as the first 28 have largely gone quite well.
Matz will enter this one sporting a 3.88 ERA on the season to go along with a 3.77 FIP, 4.05 xERA, 3.95 xFIP and 4.11 SIERA. Matz is striking out batters at a rate right in line with his career mark with an 8.71 K/9 on the season while the control is a similar story with a 2.63 BB/9 on the season.
After a disastrous 2020 season that saw him post a 9.68 ERA and eye-popping 4.11 HR/9 in 30.2 innings with the Mets, Matz’s home-run rate has dropped all the way to just 1.06 HR/9 this season, a mark that’s actually well below his 1.41 career mark as the long ball as been his foremost concern throughout what’s largely been a solid big-league career.
Any home/road split when it comes to the Blue Jays this season has to be taken with a grain of salt, at least from the home portion as the club has called Dunedin, Buffalo and now Toronto home this season. All three of those venues are of the hitter-friendly variety, however, so it’s no surprise to see Matz’s numbers creep up at home with a 4.05 ERA/4.44 FIP at home this season where he’s yielded a .338 wOBA compared to an even .300 mark on the road.
Aside from a five-run outing on Sept. 12, Matz has been fantastic at large of late. He’s allowed two runs or less in eight of his last nine starts, compiling a 2.71 ERA in that time. That said, a shorter sample reveals a 5.70 ERA over his last three starts and that five-run outing came against these Orioles in Baltimore three starts back. He lasted just three innings and allowed seven hits, two walks and two runs in Minnesota his last time out.
Furthermore, Matz has allowed 10 runs in 15 innings against the Orioles this season across three starts, good for an even 6.00 ERA against Baltimore this season.
Offense and Bullpen Notes
On the season, the Orioles are approaching a bottom-five offense. They’ve also struggled on the road where they rank 27th with a .285 wOBA on the season and with very little power in the form of a .135 ISO that checks in at 28th league wide.
Improving the offensive picture is their work off left-handed pitching. The O’s sit 11th with a .321 wOBA on the season off left-handed pitching and ninth with a .174 ISO off southpaw pitching. That said, while the numbers are about league average, Baltimore’s .302 wOBA and .141 ISO on the season outside of Camden Yards aren’t exactly anything to write home about.
As for the Orioles’ bullpen, it’s simply been an extension of a poor Orioles rotation that hasn’t been able to log many innings this season. While the Orioles’ bullpen has logged the third-most innings in baseball, it clearly has not been able to handle such a heavy workload as Baltimore ranks dead last with a 5.63 bullpen ERA on the season.
Not only that, but this Orioles’ bullpen has been even worse with a 6.41 ERA over the season’s second half that also ranks last in baseball. With Eshelman highly unlikely to get deep into this game — he’s pitched just 3.2 MLB innings out of the bullpen over the last week and a half — get ready to see a big chunk of this league-worst Orioles bullpen tonight.
Of course, we know darn well by now that this Blue Jays offense is among the very best in baseball.
After all, the Jays rank first in baseball with both a .338 wOBA and .197 ISO on the season. Off right-handers such as Eshelman, the Jays are tied for first with a .337 wOBA and tied for second with a .199 ISO on the season. As for their home offense, they rank fourth with a .345 wOBA and fifth with a .206 ISO.
Add it up and the Jays rank fourth with a .347 wOBA and fifth with a .207 ISO at home against right-handed pitching this season.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) September 30, 2021
The Jays’ bullpen has largely been a weak point this season, at least after a red-hot start to the season in the month of April. For the season, the Jays’ bullpen ranks 16th with a 4.07 ERA, though that work has slipped to a 4.22 mark in the second half that ranks them 17th in baseball.
The work hasn’t exactly improved much of late, posting a 23rd-ranked 4.48 ERA over the last 30 days, although they’ve been better in the most recent history while sporting a 3.20 ERA over the last seven days.
- Under is 4-1 in the Orioles’ last five games
- Orioles are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games on the road
- Blue Jays are 4-1 in their last five games versus the Orioles
- Blue Jays are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games versus the Orioles
Orioles vs. Blue Jays MLB Pick
Considering the pitching outlook for the Orioles tonight, the Blue Jays should not only win this game outright but should cover the run line as well. That said, there’s no value in a -300 favorite in the sport of MLB baseball and a run line pushing -180 is a little tough to swallow
Rather, I like the Over 10 here at real nice -101 odds.
I mean, this Blue Jays offense has no excuse but to pound Eshelman and a bullpen that’s been the worst in baseball by far and the worst in baseball by far over the last two and a half months.
That said, while I expect the Jays to push or exceed double-digit runs on their own in this one, I actually like the O’s to get some offense going. Remember, they’ve touched Matz up for a 6.00 ERA in three starts this season, and while they’ve fared better at home in the hitter-friendly Camden Yards, the Rogers Centre can certainly act as a launching pad at times and the O’s bring pop to the table against left-handed pitching.
It’s certainly an elevated total, but I expected an 11-run total before checking out the actual odds for this matchup. Expect the Jays to bring thunder to the table here while the O’s should score some runs off Matz themselves, so I’ll happily take the Over 10 tonight in a crucial matchup for the Blue Jays tonight in Toronto.