Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays – MLB May 14

7:37 p.m. ET – Phillies at Blue Jays (-160 ML) O/U: 10.5

The 20-18 Phillies travel to Buffalo to take on the 20-16 Blue Jays on Friday to start a three-game series. Philadelphia is coming off taking two of three in the nation’s capital earlier this week against the Nationals. Toronto swept three from the Braves earlier this week, completing a six-game season series sweep.

The Blue Jays are an impressive 7-1 against the National League East so far this season.

About the Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies LogoThe Phillies currently reside in second place in the National League East, despite a run differential of negative-5. Philadelphia is averaging 4.1 runs per game this season, which ranks 17th in Major League Baseball.

Former National League MVP Bryce Harper is doing Bryce Harper things so far this season, hitting .306 with seven home runs. Catcher JT Realmuto leads the team with a .314 batting average while playing his typical Gold Glove defense behind the dish. First baseman Rhys Hoskins is struggling with his average at .234, but he leads the team with eight home runs.

The starting rotation has been middle of the road, but the Philadelphia bullpen has been an absolute train wreck over the first two months of the season. The Phillies have a bullpen ERA of 4.51, fourth-highest in the National League.

About the Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays LogoToronto is finding its stride at the moment and currently sits just 1.5 games behind the Red Sox for first place in the American League East. The Blue Jays are scoring the sixth-most runs per game in baseball at 4.9. The 51 home runs Toronto has hit places them second in the entire major leagues.

One of the most fun teams to watch in baseball has been led by the electric and youthful tandem of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. Guerrero is batting .307 with eight home runs so far on the young season. Shortstop Bo Bichette is hitting .277 with eight home runs and 23 RBI to match his counterpart on the left side of the infield. A major difference over the past month has been offseason acquisition Marcus Semien beginning to come around. Seimien is batting .406 over his past seven games with eight home runs on the year. He’s also taking a 12-game hit streak into the weekend series.

The pitching staff has been solid to start the year, with a team ERA of 3.80. However, it is the bullpen that has carried the Blue Jays to this point, boasting the second lowest bullpen ERA in the American League (2.87).

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Philadelphia Phillies +1½ (-135) +135 O 10½ (-115)
Toronto Blue Jays -1½ (+115) -160 U 10½ (-105)

The Pitching Matchup

Right-hander Vince Velasquez is getting the ball for Philadelphia in the series opener. Velasquez is 1-0 in seven appearances this year with a 4.18 ERA. He has started four games to this point with his last outing, being his best of the year. He allowed only two hits and one run last Saturday against the Braves in 5.1 innings of work.

Left-hander Steven Matz will be toeing the rubber to try and extend Toronto’s winning streak to four games. Matz is 5-2 with a 4.87 ERA in 37 innings of work spread across seven starts this season. Matz has allowed eight runs in 10 innings of work so far this May and is looking to right the ship against a Phillies team he has faced plenty, being that Matz spent the first six seasons of his big league career with the Mets.

What’s the Bet?
The Phillies are going to be without hard-hitting catcher Realmuto on Friday night, which is a huge blow as they are going up against a left-handed starter. The fact of the matter is that these two teams have similar records, yet Toronto is significantly the better team. Velasquez lost his spot in the starting rotation at the start of the season for a reason. He got rocked when he was in it.

Matz has bounced back from his 0-5 2020 campaign in which he posted a 9.68 ERA. The Blue Jays have a lineup from top to bottom that will pour runs on you early and often. Expect that to happen on Friday night. Toronto has the better pitcher on the mound, the better lineup, and a WAY better bullpen.

Back the Blue Jays to win by at least two runs in the series opener up in Buffalo.
The Bet
Blue Jays -1.5 Runs
+115

*Odds Courtesy of MyBookie Sportsbook

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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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