Blue Jays to Edge Pirates in Weekend Series

Pirates vs Blue Jays Runline One of Many Betting Options

The Toronto Blue Jays try to have some more success at home when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates for a three-game interleague series this weekend, starting with a contest on Friday night. Both teams are trying to improve their spot in the MLB rankings and build on wins in their last outings.

The Pirates (26-30) snapped a two-game losing streak with a win in the second game of a doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. Pittsburgh is in fourth place in the NL Central, just two games ahead of the last-place Cincinnati Reds.

Toronto is coming off a three-game sweep of a series with the Chicago White Sox on the road. The Blue Jays (26-29) are bringing up the rear in the AL East race and are hoping to improve on their 12-12 record at home this season.

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The MLB odds for the opener favor the home team, with Toronto listed at -164 on the moneyline. If your MLB predictions today are on Pittsburgh, you can get +138 odds to come away with the straight-up win.

The Pirates are -152 to win when getting 1.5 runs on the runline, while the Blue Jays are +126 when giving those runs. The over/under for the series opener is set at 8.5 runs, with -110 odds on either side of that wager.

The series opens with a 7:07 p.m. ET game on Friday at Rogers Centre in Toronto. That’s followed by a 3:07 p.m. ET contest on Saturday and the series finale at 1:37 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Pitching Matchups

⚾Game 1⚾

Bailey Falter (Pittsburgh) vs Jose Berrios (Toronto)

Friday, May 31st, 2024 at 5:07 pm ET.

The Pirates will start this series with left-hander Bailey Falter on the mound. Falter is 3-2 with a 3.55 ERA, striking out 33 over 58.1 innings in 10 starts.

The 27-year-old is coming off his longest start of the season, going 7.1 innings against the Atlanta Braves last Friday, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out four and walking one.

The win was his first decision in four starts in May, though he had a 2.73 ERA over that span.

Toronto will have veteran righty Jose Berrios making his 12th start of 2024 on Friday night. Berrios is 5-4 with a 2.94 ERA this season, striking out 53 over 67.1 innings of work.

Berrios has struggled a bit in May, logging a 5.70 ERA in four starts after he had a 1.19 ERA in six starts in April. His last outing was Saturday against the Tigers, as he went seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking none.

⚾Game 2⚾

Mitch Keller (Pittsburgh) vs Yusei Kikuchi (Toronto)

Saturday, June 1st, 2024 at 1:07 pm ET.

One of the hotter pitchers for the Pirates, Mitch Keller, will get the call for Saturday’s start. The righty is 6-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 11 starts this season, striking out 58 over 67.2 innings.

He was fantastic in May, however, going 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts. He’s coming off a 6.2-inning stint against the Braves on Saturday in which he allowed one run on six hits while striking out four and walking none.

Left-hander Yusei Kukuchi will get the call for Toronto for the middle game of the series, his 12th start of the season. Kukuchi is 2-4 with a 3.25 ERA, recording 61 strikeouts in 61 innings of work.

He’s coming off a rough outing against the Tigers on Sunday in which he lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and failing to record a strikeout or a walk.

⚾Game 3⚾

Undecided (Pittsburgh) vs Chris Bassitt (Toronto)

Sunday 2nd, 2024 at 11:37 am ET.

The starting slot for Sunday’s contest is usually taken for the Pirates by lefty Martin Perez, but he suffered a groin injury last Sunday and was placed on the 15-day injured list.

The rain delay of Pittsburgh’s series-opening contest with Detroit on Tuesday caused a doubleheader to be played on Wednesday, so that has also messed with the Pirates’ starting rotation a little bit.

Pittsburgh is likely going to wait until closer to the contest to decide if it wants to call someone up or make it a bullpen start.

Toronto will have a hot pitcher on the mound for the MLB series finale, with right-hander Chris Bassitt looking to extend his streak of 12 shutout innings.

Bassitt is 5-6 with a 4.03 ERA in 11 starts, striking out 56 batters in 60.1 innings. In back-to-back starts against the Chicago White Sox, including his last outing on Monday, Bassitt allowed no runs and 10 hits over 12 combined innings, striking out 11 and walking two.

Pirates logoWhich Pirates Offense Will Show Up?

Wednesday’s doubleheader split with the Tigers shows just why the Pittsburgh Pirates standings are what they are coming into this series. In the opener, Pittsburgh managed just three hits and no runs (albeit against the Tigers’ ace, Tarik Skubal) in falling, 8-0.

But in the nightcap, the Pirates erupted for 10 runs on 13 hits, including six for extra bases, in routing Detroit, 10-2. Consequently, finding some consistency at the plate is essential for Pittsburgh to be more consistent in picking up wins.

Outfielder Andrew McCutchen had a huge game in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, four RBI and two runs scored.

The 37-year-old former NL MVP with the team is batting just .234 on the season, but he leads Pittsburgh with eight home runs, adding five doubles, 18 RBI and 26 runs scored. Outfielder Bryan Reynolds is another dangerous hitter for the Pirates, batting .254 but tallying 12 doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 29 RBI and 20 runs scored.

For all of the young stars on its roster, Toronto has struggled to put runs on the board this season, ranking 23rd in baseball in scoring heading into Thursday’s action.

Outfielder Daulton Varsho has been the team’s best power hitter, leading the Blue Jays with 10 home runs, 30 RBI, and 31 runs scored, but he’s batting just .205. Meanwhile, First baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has also been solid, batting .294 with 10 doubles, five home runs, 25 RBI, and 24 runs scored.

Blue Jays logoBlue Jays Win Tight Series

Betting on the Pirates vs Blue Jays runline in this series won’t be easy, because all three games should be tight on the scoreboard. Both teams have had trouble being consistent this season, but both have some solid starting pitching going in this series.

We’re giving Toronto the slight edge in that it’s playing at home and is on a three-game winning streak. Pittsburgh won’t make it easy, but we like the Blue Jays to come away with the majority of victories in this three-game matchup.

For MLB betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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