Blue Jays vs Royals – 8:10 p.m. EST
The 6-6 Blue Jays travel to Kansas City to take on the 6-4 Royals for the opener of their four-game series. Toronto had a big win on Wednesday thanks to a Bo Bichette walk-off home run to clinch a series victory over the Yankees. Kansas City tallied 11 hits on Wednesday in its 6-1 victory over the Angels in Kauffman Stadium. The Royals’ bullpen shut the door late, allowing only two base runners over the final 3.1 innings of the game.
About the Blue Jays
Toronto is one of the most exciting teams in baseball because they have some of the best young talent in the MLB. The dynamic duo of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bichette has not disappointed so far this season, with Guerrero leading the team with a .390 batting average and Bichette leading the club with four home runs and 10 RBI.
- Offseason acquisition Marcus Semien was brought in to play second base, but has struggled out of the gate and is batting only .212 through 12 games following a monster 2020 season.
- George Springer was another big addition to the team but is currently on the 10-day DL with a quadriceps injury that will keep him off the field all series.
The Blue Jays may be lacking in production from their big signings, but they still rank in the top half of the majors in runs, hits, batting average, home runs, and stolen bases. Toronto has the veteran arms and firepower throughout the lineup to go back to the playoffs in 2021.
About the Royals
The Royals originally appeared set to return to playoff contention in 2022, and although a hot start to the season has cooled a bit, it also has revealed the likely potential that their up-and-coming young core possesses. Second baseman Whit Merrifield is having another great year, batting .375 with three home runs and 11 RBI through 10 games. Despite Andrew Benintendi, Carlos Santana, and Jorge Soler all struggling out of the gate, Kansas City still ranks in the top 10 in the American League in both runs and hits per game.
- The Royals’ front office is trying to build a team similar to that of the 2015 World Series champions, creating a lineup that makes great contact and can make things happen on the base paths. Kansas City already has 10 steals so far this year, which ranks second in the AL.
- The Royals’ pitching has been middle of the road to start the season, but with plenty of talented young arms in the rotation, it is only a matter of time before they figure things out and become an issue for the other ball clubs in the American League Central.
The Pitching Matchup
The Blue Jays had yet to announce a definitive starting pitcher as of Thursday afternoon, but it is likely to be right-hander Tanner Roark or a bullpen day to try and contain the Royals lineup. Roark was only able to go three innings in his last start, allowing five runs in the process. Toronto’s bullpen is coming off a very active series against the Yankees, so they will be thinner than normal for this series opener.
Kansas City will be asking right-hander Jakob Junis to toe the rubber for his second start of the year and his fourth appearance overall. Junis recorded a shutout inning out of the bullpen in two games against the Rangers before throwing five shutout innings against the Indians in his only start of the year. Junis allowed only one hit against Cleveland and has proven himself worthy of staying in the starting rotation for now.
What’s the Bet?
The Blue Jays are fresh off an emotional walk-off victory against the American League East favorite, the big, bad New York Yankees. The series took its toll on the Toronto pitching staff and an emotional win on Wednesday could cause a lack of focus when the first pitch comes around on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Royals have been sitting at home after an easy win yesterday, ready to throw Junis on the mound when he is off to a great start to his season. Toronto is going to be a popular pick amongst the public, but this is a chance to fade the public and back the home dogs in the perfect spot. Take the Royals Moneyline at plus money.