Top AL Contenders Square Off
Coming into the season, the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays were expected to be the teams to beat in their respective divisions. Heading into this weekend’s Blue Jays vs Astros three-game series, Toronto is living up to the advance billing much better than Houston.
The series will be another chance for Blue Jays slugger Vlad Guerrero Jr. to add to his American League-leading total of five homers. Houston ranks 10th in the American League with 41 runs scored and is just 1-2 at home.
Even though they are dealing with some injury, the Blue Jays vs Astros betting analysis is calling for Houston to start putting together some wins.
Team records: Blue Jays 8-5 (first, AL East), Astros 6-6 (fourth, AL West)
Dates: Three-game series starts Friday at 8:10 p.m. ET (teams also play at 4:10 p.m. on Saturday and 2:10 p.m. on Sunday)
Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
Television/live stream: Sunday’s game on ESPN+.
Blue Jays: Plenty of Close Shaves
With hitters like Guerrero, Bo Bichette, George Springer and Matt Chapman, the Astros vs Blue Jays betting analysis would normally focus on Toronto’s offense overwhelming its competition.
Although the Blue Jays are sitting atop the AL East, more of the credit goes to the pitching staff. Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah have combined for three quality starts and 35 strikeouts in 30.2 innings while Jordan Romano is 7 of 7 in save opportunities.
Toronto has needed the pitching to be this good as four of the last five games have been decided by two runs or less. The Blue Jays are 5-2 when the games finish as either one or two-run affairs. Having five middle relievers with ERAs of 1.93 or lower has played a huge role in Toronto picking up wins early in the season.
Verlander Back in Form
Justin Verlander has done just about everything during his major league career with more than 200 wins, a pair of Cy Young Awards, five American League strikeout crowns and a pair of 20-game seasons. However, expectations were a little subdued with Verlander coming off elbow surgery.
After winning 21 games during the 2019 season for the Astros, he made just one start in 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season.
Verlander took the loss in his season debut despite allowing just three hits and one run in his first start in two years. Verlander gave up just three hits and no runs in eight scoreless innings in his second start. He had eight strikeouts in his longest outing since 2019 and looked every bit the part of the ace he has been throughout his career.
Verlander returns to the mound on Friday to face a dangerous Toronto lineup. With the way he is throwing, that has to be a part of the Blue Jays vs Astros betting analysis.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Blue Jays OF: Gurriel has hits in seven of his last eight games. Over the last six games, he has four two-hit games with two doubles and two RBIs.
Cristian Javier, Astros P: Javier has struck out nine batters in 6.2 innings over his last two outings. He has yet to allow a run this season.
Jeremy Pena, Astros IF: Pena has three extra-base hits in his last four games. Pena has four runs and three RBIs during that stretch.
Trevor Richards, Blue Jays P: Richards has three consecutive scoreless outings with one hit allowed and four strikeouts in three innings.
Cavan Biggio, Blue Jays IF: Biggio finally delivered his first hit of the season in his 10th game. He is 1-for-18 with nine strikeouts.
Julian Mayweather, Blue Jays P: Mayweather has allowed three hits and three runs in his last three outings.
Jake Odorizzi Astros P: Odorizzi has allowed 10 hits and 10 runs in five innings in his last two appearances. He has seven walks and three strikeouts in those two contests.
Jose Siri, Astros OF: Siri is 0-for-10 with five strikeouts in his last three games. He started the season with six hits in his first 14 at-bats.
Toronto outfielder Springer is dealing with a forearm contusion and it is uncertain if he will be ready for the series opener against his former team. OF Teoscar Hernandez is on the 10-day injured list with an oblique strain. That is the same injury that has sidelined catcher Danny Jansen. Pitchers Nate Pearson and Hyun Jin Ryu are not expected to return until May.
Houston second baseman Altuve is out with a hamstring strain. He joins outfielder Jake Meyers on the 10-day injured list. Pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Ryan Pressly are out.
Blue Jays vs Astros Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Ross Stripling (Blue Jays) vs Justin Verlander (Astros)
Saturday: Alek Manoah (Blue Jays) vs Jose Urquidy (Astros)
Sunday: Yusei Kikuchi (Blue Jays) vs Luis Garcia (Astros)
Blue Jays vs Astros Betting Guide
Houston’s batting order isn’t quite as imposing when Altuve’s name isn’t on the lineup card and his absence is figured into the Houston Astros betting tips, with plenty of money coming in on the Blue Jays.
Houston has won five of the last seven meetings with the Blue Jays, including two of the last three games at home. Toronto has averaged eight runs a game in the last four wins in the series and 2.4 runs in the last five losses.
The last 15 games between the Blue Jays and Astros have been decided by more than one run. The teams have combined for more than 10 runs in four of the last six meetings.
The total has gone under in six of Toronto’s last seven games while the total has gone over in four of Houston’s last six contests, so keep that in mind when making Toronto Blue Jays vs Houston Astros predictions.