After opening their seasons as opponents, the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees are set for their second series showdown in the last two weeks (Game 1 Today: 7.07pm ET Monday).
The Blue Jays struck first blood, taking two of three from their divisional rivals on the road. Now, as the rivalry turns to the Blue Jays home of Dunedin, can New York find road success with Gerrit Cole on the mound? Or will the Yankees’ early season struggles continue? Read this MLB game preview and predictions, with concluding betting picks, to find out.
The AL East is expected to be one of baseball’s most highly contested divisions this year with teams like the defending champion Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays all vying for the top spot. The Yankees entered the year as favorites and it wasn’t exactly by a small margin. As they say, games aren’t won on paper. The Yankees learned that in their first series as they welcomed the Blue Jays into Yankee Stadium. It wasn’t even that Toronto’s hitting was particularly stellar but from the mound, the Blue Jays managed to stifle the Bronx Bombers to win two of the first three games. It was an unexpected start to the season for New York and it was just the beginning of the team’s early woes.
Sitting at just 4-5, the Yankees have lost two of their first three series. Toronto, despite opening the year 2-1 though, has also met the same fate. The Blue Jays lost four of their next five games before winning 15-1 in their last game against the Los Angeles Angels. As the final game of that series was postponed, the Jays didn’t lose the series but the best they can do is tie when that final game is played. So really, after the first nearly 10 games of the season, neither Toronto or New York has blazed to a strong start. It has opened the gates to the surprising Boston Red Sox, who lead the AL East as the only team in that division above .500.
It is somewhat hard to believe the struggles of these two teams, but the season is still young and both teams are more than capable of turning the tides. For one of these two franchises, that tide could turn as soon as this upcoming series.
Expectations for this Series
New York didn’t waste any time making improvements to their team. The Yankees already made a pretty big trade in acquiring Rougned Odor, who has already shown his impact. With the Yankees on the verge of being swept out of town by the Rays, Odor proved his worth with a game-winning hit in extra innings. This snapped a three-game losing streak for New York.
As the Yankees head toward the showdown with Toronto, they will need more clutch hitting like that as New York’s bats have yet really to get going. Across the league, the Yankees were expected to be one of baseball’s top hitting teams but that expectation has yet to translate to reality. It is still early, but even in a 162-game season, a slow start isn’t something any team really wants to see.
Fortunately, the Yankees will be able to turn to one of the best pitchers in baseball in Gerrit Cole. Acquired by the team last year, Cole has continued to show the talent that made him such a coveted arm as he has started this season with pristine numbers. In two starts this year, Cole is boasting a 1.46 ERA over 12.1 innings pitched. He has given up nine hits, two walks and just two earned runs. As it would turn out, Cole also has a perfect record against the Blue Jays in his career, as he has posted a 3-0 record and 2.97 in five starts against Toronto.
For Toronto, they will turn to a bit of a wildcard as Robbie Ray will make his first start of the season. Ray dazzled in spring training, posting a 2-0 record and 1.98 ERA. He struck out 18 as he was firing on all cylinders and locating all of his pitches. Unfortunately, an injury prior to the end of spring training left Ray on the IL for a bit but he is back now and ready to pick up right where he left off.
Our Betting Preview’s Yankees vs Blue Jays Predictions & Picks Verdict
It is hard to pinpoint one player in particular who could be called an X Factor in this matchup as both teams really need the totality of their offenses to get going. The AL East is still anyone’s game but for the Blue Jays and Yankees, they will need their bats to kick into high gear sooner rather than later.
This game is a Monday night showdown and for what it’s worth, the Yankees historically have played well on Monday nights. The team has won 43 of their last 64 and are 4-1 in their last five games against teams with a winning record. Of course, Toronto does not have a winning record but the Yankees are also 4-1 in their last five Monday night games against teams with a losing record. The Blue Jays are also pretty good on Monday nights, especially when it comes to playing at home. Of course, Dunedin may not be the same home as Toronto but the Jays will need to adjust to playing in their temporary home this year sooner rather than later.
What it really comes down to here, is likely if Cole can continue to pitch lights out as he has this season. He is definitely New York’s ace in the hole and if he can put forward another top-notch start, even just a few runs from the Yankees offense should be enough.
So these are our NYY vs TOR predictions and picks for this preview:
- Bet the Yankees -1.5 runs @ best odds of -120 with Intertops or BetOnline.
- Take the under 9 total runs to be scored @ -115 with Bovada, BetOnline or Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.