Free Daily Lock Pick: MLB: White Sox vs Nationals- September 19th - Max Confidence CompClick to see the pick now
It's no secret that these teams don't like each other. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays (83-67) and New York Yankees (76-74) have six more meetings this season, beginning with this Tuesday clash. Each franchise has the chance to bury the other's season depending on how the six games finish. River Avenue gets round one, as each team flew to the Bronx for this series. The first pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EDT. Let's see what happens when these AL East rivals test their might head-to-head on Tuesday night.
Big Blue Jays SweepToronto got a much-needed sweep over the weekend, erasing the damage of the disastrous Rangers series before it. It also came against Boston which is notable because the Blue Jays have been awful against the AL East this season. Toronto is now 15-25 in division games, a number that needs to keep improving if they want to avoid the 1.5-game gap between them and an empty October.
Their pitching, which has carried the team (they rank 5th in runs allowed), has been noticeably worse against AL East rivals. The Blue Jays have also taken a bit of a dip on the mound in September. Lefty Yusei Kikuchi will start this game trying to right the ship. His only start against New York came in Yankee Stadium, when Kikuchi held the Yankees to one run over 6.0 innings in a win. However, he has also allowed six runs in two of his three starts this month. Kikuchi's K/BB in September has only been lower in one month this season, May, which was his worst month of 2023. The Blue Jays have a strong bullpen that's top 10 in WAR, FIP, and ERA, but Kikuchi needs to keep it close for them to be useful.
As for the offense, they hit better on the road. Toronto has scored 55 more runs in away games than at home in the same number of tries. The team's slash line also jumps to .265/.335/.432 as visitors. Toronto is sixth in OBP and sixth in strikeout rate. Their team batting average is .257 (10th), while the Blue Jays also walk 8.9% (12th) of the time. Baserunning gets the Jays in trouble and their home run counter is uninspiring. Still, there are plenty of teams wishing they put up 4.53 runs per game. The perfect example is right in front of them.
Free Daily Lock Pick: MLB: White Sox vs Nationals- September 19th - Max Confidence Comp Click to see the pick now
New York Not Dead?With six games left against the Blue Jays as they trail them by 7.0 games, the Yankees can catch them if they stay hot. New York would need either the Rangers or Mariners to continue struggling, but somehow the door remains open. It'll require an offense with a .226 batting average (29th unless the A's pass them on Monday) to actually hit the ball. That's been a major player in the Bronx Bombers disappointing 2023. Even with MLB's fourth-highest walk rate, New York is 26th in OBP. Even with 208 home runs (7th), only seven teams score fewer runs per game. Like Toronto, the Yankees can also quickly become a comedy routine on the bases. Don't expect a lot from this group in the bottom half of innings.
On the mound, the Yankees are still a competitive team, even through countless injuries. The bullpen may be top-five in ERA (1st) and FIP (5th), but it's Clarke Schmidt who will determine how this game goes. Stepping up for injured starters, Schmidt has tossed a career-high 146.0 innings in 2023. That includes 5.2 innings against Toronto, holding the Blue Jays to three hits that day. Unfortunately, two of those hits were home runs after an error, so he picked up the loss anyway. His last two starts have been wins, and hopefully, better defense on Tuesday will equal a third.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This game should be tight, considering how these pitchers have fared. Yusei Kikuchi has already shut down the Yankees, while Clarke Schmidt was also strong against Toronto when he faced them last. Both bullpens are sturdy too, and well-rested after Monday's off day.
So, there are two ways to look at this game. Which team is playing better, a question that the Yankees win with their 6-2 stretch coming back home. The other question is which offense should be more trusted, which goes to Toronto. Still, the Yankees have scored 23 runs in their last five games, while the Blue Jays have only put up 12 in the past five. Take New York to stay hot for at least one more night.
Full-Game Total Pick
This game, and probably the series, will be dominated by pitching. Both teams are top-10 in run prevention this season. Neither offense is top-10 in scoring. Yankee Stadium may be homer-friendly, but in every other way, it helps pitchers.
Yusei Kikuchi held the Yankees to one run in the 6.0 innings he pitched against them in the Bronx this April. Clarke Schmidt allowed only three hits and no earned runs against Toronto, a start that was also in Yankee Stadium. Both bullpens are top-10 in ERA and FIP. Don't overthink this one and take the under.