Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4977 Toronto Blue Jays vs.
#4978 New York Mets
Friday, July 23, 2021 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s the opener of an interleague set on the diamond in the Big Apple. The Toronto Blue Jays are on the road as they open up a three-game series with the New York Mets Friday night. Toronto was beaten 7-4 by Boston in their final game in Buffalo Wednesday night: their next homestand will take place in Rogers Centre for the first time since 2019. New York won the rubber game of their three-game set with the Reds, prevailing 7-0 on the road Wednesday in their most recent contest. The Blue Jays won the season series last year 4-3, including taking two of three at Sahlen Field in Buffalo in their most recent series September 11-13, 2020.

Toronto Blue Jays Looking to Gain Ground in AL Playoff Picture

Toronto was swept in a rain-shortened series in Buffalo against the Red Sox as they fell to a power barrage from the Red Sox bats. The Blue Jays entered Thursday fourth in the AL East, eight games behind the Red Sox for the division lead. In the AL wild card picture, the team stood 4.5 games behind the A’s for the second wild card spot. On Wednesday, Toronto finished with just five hits with Teoscar Hernandez (run, RBI) the lone player with two. Hernandez (his 13th), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (his 32nd) and George Springer (his seventh) each homered in the loss. Robbie Ray (8-5) took the loss as he gave up four runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts over five innings of work.

Steven Matz is on the mound and makes his 17th start of the year for the Blue Jays in the series opener. He comes in 8-4 with a 4.43 ERA, a 1.328 WHIP, 21 walks and 84 strikeouts over 81.1 innings of work this season. Matz earned the win in his last start, which came in the second game of a doubleheader at home against the Rangers Sunday. He threw five scoreless innings, allowing three hits with no walks and two strikeouts in a 10-0 Blue Jays victory. On the road this season, Matz is 6-2 with a 3.70 ERA, a 1.068 WHIP, eight walks and 57 strikeouts over 48.2 innings in nine starts. In his 129th career appearance and 124th major league start, Matz pitches against the Mets for the first time. This marks his 57th career appearance and 54th start at Citi Field. Matz is 15-19 with a 3.81 ERA, a 1.224 WHIP, 90 walks and 299 strikeouts over 302.1 innings of work in those contests.

New York Mets Try to Build on NL East Lead

New York took two of three on the road from the Reds as they prevailed in Wednesday’s series finale to enter this series on a positive note. The Mets entered Thursday holding a 3.5-game edge over the Phillies in the race for the NL East lead. On Wednesday, New York got two hits each from Dominic Smith (run, four RBI) and Luis Guillorme (run, two RBI) to lead the way. Smith (his 11th homer of the year, a grand slam), Jonathan Villar (his 10th) and Guillorme (his first) each homered in the victory. Marcus Stroman (7-8) was lights out on the mound in earning the win. He threw eight scoreless frames, allowing one hit with one walk and seven strikeouts, before turning it over to the bullpen. Only an Aristides Aquino single leading off the third inning dented the hit column.

Tylor Megill gets the ball for his sixth major league start of his career in this contest for the Mets. He comes in with no record with a 2.63 ERA, a 1.208 WHIP, nine walks and 28 strikeouts over 24 innings of work this season. Megill didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Saturday on the road against the Pirates. He threw six innings, allowing no runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts in a game the Mets went on to lose 9-7. Pitching at home this season, Megill has no record, a 2.77 ERA, a 1.231 WHIP, seven walks and 18 strikeouts over 13 innings in three starts. In his sixth career major league start, Megill pitches against the Blue Jays for the first time. Megill is 0-0 with a 2.77 ERA, a 1.231 WHIP, seven walks and 18 strikeouts over 13 innings in three career starts at Citi Field. He had no record with a 3.77 ERA, a 1.116 WHIP, five walks and 17 strikeouts over 14.1 innings in three starts with Triple-A Syracuse of the American Association. Prior to that, he was 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.077 WHIP, seven walks and 42 strikeouts over 26 innings in five starts with Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Matz has plenty of familiarity when it comes to pitching at Citi Field as he spent the first six years of his big-league career pitching for the Mets. He has turned things around with Toronto after struggling to a 0-5 mark with a 9.68 ERA and a 1.696 WHIP over 30.2 innings. His eight wins entering this one are the third-most he’s had in a season with two months to go in the year. Megill has pitched fairly well at the major league level though he has nothing to show for it at this stage of the season. Toronto has the ability to do damage with the power game as we’ve seen them launch balls into the seats at a solid rate. The Blue Jays have the better offense and that carries them to a victory here in the series opener.

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays +109

Full-Game Total Pick

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Toronto is third in the majors this season with an average of 5.18 runs per game entering Thursday though that number drops to 4.60 runs per game on the road. With that said, Matz is 5-3 with a 5.03 ERA and is averaging just under five innings per start in 12 night outings on the year. All five of Megill’s starts have come under the lights this season and he’s been good at keeping teams slowed down. Matz’s last 10 starts have seen an average of 10.8 runs per game on the board. Meanwhile, Megill’s starts have seen an average of nine runs per game though that was inflated by the bullpen melting down and giving up nine runs over the final two innings of his last start. You have to think the Mets can get at least four on the board here while the Blue Jays are a dangerous team capable of five or six on any given night. This one edges over the total.

Prediction: Over 8.5
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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