MLB Betting: Cubs vs Blue Jays Game Preview

Toronto Must Stop Its Skid

Before the 2022 season, the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to be in contention to win the AL East along with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. But, this campaign hasn’t gone exactly according to plan for Toronto, which finds itself in the third (and final) Wild Card spot with a slim 1.5-game lead over the upstart Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays are coming off a listless three-game home sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels so they need to take advantage of the lowly Chicago Cubs coming to town. Our Cubs vs Blue Jays game preview, for Game 1, focuses on the matchup between José Berríos and Javier Assad.

The Cubs, on the other hand, don’t have much to play for at this point of the season. They’re 14.5 games back in the MLB NL Wild Card race and have dropped six of their last nine contests after a five-game winning streak. Chicago has been a bad team all season but the Cubs do play hard and have picked up some solid offensive performances from core pieces, such as Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and Nico Hoerner. The Blue Jays betting odds for this series heavily favor Toronto but the Cubs aren’t total pushovers.

Cubs-Blue Jays Game 1 Information

Berríos Has Been Much Better Lately

One of the main reasons why the Blue Jays have been such a disappointment relative to their high expectations this season has been their starting pitching. Kevin Gausman, Alek Manoah, and Ross Stripling (in a fill-in role) have pitched extremely well but Hyun-Jin Ryu was limited to six starts before suffering a season-ending injury — one of the more impactful MLB injuries of the year — and Berríos has struggled mightily. Toronto slotted Berríos in as a No. 2 starter yet he currently has a 5.28 ERA.

The main culprit for his issues is the long ball. Berríos has given up an AL-high 27 home runs and 79 earned runs, a combination that never bodes well. He is also allowing 10 hits per nine innings, which is his highest figure since his rookie season. However, though, he might be righting the ship. It’s critical for a Cubs vs Blue Jays game preview to note that Berríos allowed two runs in each of his last two starts, one a win against the New York Yankees and one a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox. He garnered quality starts in both games after two ugly outings at the beginning of August.

The Cubs’ lineup is much less formidable than that of New York or Boston so, if Berríos can keep the good times rolling from his two most-recent appearances then Toronto has a good chance to snap this losing streak at three.

Toronto’s Offense Is Due

It’s not easy to hold the Blue Jays’ highly explosive offense… which leads the AL in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS (and is second in on-base percentage) — down for an entire series but that’s what the Angels were able to do this past weekend. Toronto was shut out on Friday and Saturday before mustering just three runs in a lopsided loss on Sunday. Don’t expect the same thing to happen this week with the Blue Jays facing rookie Assad, Marcus Stroman, and a pitcher TBD.

Chicago pitcher Justin Steele, who would be projected to start in Wednesday’s series finale, was placed on the restricted list before this series because he has not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine and thus can’t enter Canada. That’s great news for Toronto because Steele has been the Cubs’ best starter this season.

So, the Blue Jays won’t exactly face a gauntlet of opposing starters which should make for a good offensive series for Toronto. The Blue Jays have too stacked a lineup to keep struggling at the plate, particularly at home against bad teams. This Cubs vs Blue Jays series preview would be remiss if it didn’t predict a major offensive bounceback for Toronto.

Cubs’ Bats Could Struggle

On the flip side, the Cubs have a pretty mediocre lineup and will have to face the streaking Berríos, the ultra-consistent Gausman, and player Mitch White in this series. White is, admittedly, coming off a brutal start against the Angels in which he gave up seven earned runs in 4.2 innings but he allowed one run in each of his two previous outings. It’ll be tough for Chicago to break through against both Berríos and Gausman so the Blue Jays could be looking for a sweep in Wednesday’s finale.

Chicago does have some intimidating bats but, as a whole, the lineup just isn’t very good at producing runs. The Cubs are 12th in the NL in runs and won’t have power bat Patrick Wisdom available as he just went on the injured list. Chicago’s bats have been mostly quiet over the past week or so as well.

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