It’s the continuation of a weekend series on the diamond between a pair of American League teams on opposite sides of the cut line for the playoff picture north of the border. The Minnesota Twins are on the road as they play the middle game of a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday afternoon. Minnesota was dropped 12-3 in the rubber game of their three-game home set with the Indians Wednesday night. Toronto won the rubber game of their three-game series with the Rays, prevailing 6-3 Wednesday in their most recent game. This article was published prior to the conclusion of Friday’s series opener at Rogers Centre.
Minnesota Twins Trying to Pick Up Road VictoryMinnesota lost the rubber game of their home set with the Indians Wednesday for their fourth defeat in the last five games. The Twins entered Friday in the basement of the AL Central, 19.5 games behind the White Sox for the division lead. In the AL wild-card race, the team has been eliminated from contention as they are 18.5 games back with 15 to go. On Wednesday, Minnesota got two of their three hits from Miguel Sano (run, three RBI), including his 28th homer of the season. Luis Arraez had the other hit in the contest. Griffin Jax (3-4) took the loss on the mound as he allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts over 4.2 innings of work.
Bailey Ober is on the bump for his 19th start of the year for the Twins in this contest. He is 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA, a 1.217 WHIP, 17 walks and 87 strikeouts over 83 innings of work this season. Ober didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Sunday at home against the Royals. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in a game the Twins eventually dropped 5-3. On the road this year, Ober is 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA, a 1.165 WHIP, six walks and 44 strikeouts over 40.1 innings in nine starts. Ober, in his 19th career start, pitches against the Blue Jays for the first time here. That makes this his first career start at Rogers Centre as well. Before being called up, he was 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA, a 1.125 WHIP, five walks and 21 strikeouts over 16 innings in four starts with Triple-A St. Paul of the American Association.
Toronto Blue Jays Battling for Wild Card SpotToronto won for the 16th time in their last 19 games as they beat the Rays at home in the rubber game of their three-game set Wednesday. The Blue Jays entered Friday tied for second in the AL East with the Red Sox, 8.5 games behind the Rays. In the AL wild-card race, the team was tied with Boston for the two wild-card spots, half a game ahead of the Yankees to remain on the right side of the cut line. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (two runs) and Bo Bichette (run, five RBI) each had two hits in the win. Bichette hit his 25th homer of the season in the victory, which came in the opening inning, to give Toronto a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Robbie Ray (12-5) earned the win as he threw seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. Jordan Romano worked the ninth, striking out one, for his 18th save.
Steven Matz is on the mound and makes his 27th start of the year for the Blue Jays in this contest. He comes in 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA, a 1.333 WHIP, 38 walks and 128 strikeouts over 135 innings of work this season. Matz picked up the win in his last start, which came on the road against the Orioles Sunday. He threw six innings, allowing five runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in an eventual 22-7 Blue Jays victory. Pitching at home this season, Matz is 3-2 with a 4.17 ERA, a 1.55 WHIP, 18 walks and 41 strikeouts over 49.2 innings in 10 starts. Matz didn’t factor in the decision in his lone career start against the Twins, which came with the Mets on July 16, 2019. He threw four innings, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts in a game the Mets eventually won 3-2. Matz is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA, a 1.235 WHIP, five walks and 14 strikeouts over 17 innings in three career starts at Rogers Centre.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Twins are 2-8 in their last 10 vs. American League East
- Twins are 1-7 in their last 8 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- Twins are 1-4 in their last 5 overall
- Blue Jays are 4-0 in Matz's last 4 Saturday starts
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Toronto has been on a roll the last few weeks, which has pushed them into the thick of the wild card race. The Blue Jays entered Friday with 16 wins in their last 19 games and they have the offensive weaponry to make life miserable for just about any pitcher. Toronto is third in the league with 5.28 runs per game while they are third at home by averaging 5.49 runs per contest as the hosts. The Blue Jays have five players with at least 22 homers and George Springer has blasted 17 in only 62 games. Six players have knocked in at least 80 runs for Toronto and having a resurgent Matz on the mound works for them. Minnesota is playing out the string at this point and you have to give the upper hand to the Blue Jays as every win matters for them at this point.
Full-Game Total Pick
Ober has pitched well of late though it hasn’t reflected in his record. His last six starts have seen an average of 6.67 runs per outing with the under cashing in five of those. While facing a dangerous Toronto lineup is going to be daunting, recent outings show that Rocco Baldelli won’t hesitate to pull his young starter should trouble arise. Matz faces a middle-of-the-road Twins’ attack here and he turned in four straight starts that fell under the mark prior to the 29-run barrage that came in his last start. Of course, 22 of those were on his side of the scoreboard. You have to think that the crafty lefthander can shut down the Twins to keep this one under the total even if Toronto gets their usual allotment of runs.