MLB: September 24, 2018, Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON, CA, 7:07 PM ET
The Houston Astros could cross the century mark for 100 wins in the regular season, if they win their upcoming series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Unlike the Astros, the Blue Jays aren’t gearing up for a postseason run. They’re winding down for the offseason with six more games left on the schedule. The Tampa Bay Rays got the best of them on Sunday in a closeout game to tie a four-game series. Meanwhile, the Astros were busy putting the finishing touches on a three-game sweep over the Los Angeles Angels.
Houston’s Dallas Keuchel is expected to get the pitching start on Monday against Toronto’s Marco Estrada.
Astros getting the bats going
The Astros hit the ball much better against the Angels after being shut out by the Seattle Mariners. They were held to just eight runs combined in three games in the series, and then they exploded for 27 combined runs against the Angels.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel’s play especially stood out as he knocked out three homers in the series. His early homer in the first inning on Sunday helped the Astros put three points on the board right out the gates. Catcher Evan Gattis also had a significant performance, hitting the ball three times and knocking in two runs.
The Astros will need others to step up for another potentially tough series against a Blue Jays team that simply won’t roll over and call it a day. They showed tremendous pride in tying with the Rays and winning back-to-back against the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.
These two teams don’t play each other often, but the Astros are currently leading the head-to-head meetings this season, 2-1.
Blue Jays love to play spoiler
The Blue Jays wouldn’t go away quietly, unfortunately for the Rays, who saw their playoff hopes go up in smoke with two losses to the fourth place AL East team. Although a comeback is unlikely, the Oakland Athletics are technically still in the hunt for the AL West throne. The Blue Jays could give them some help starting on Monday if they can upset the Astros.
They may not be the most talented team in the league, but they are certainly playing some of their best ball right now. They are 6-3 in their last nine games since losing four straight to the Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Perhaps they could have come away with the entire series if they never had to face Rays’ ace pitcher, Blake Snell—a CY Young award candidate that is 21-5 in his last 26 games. They are hoping to have better luck against the slumping Keuchel, who has lost his last three consecutive starts, along with giving up a combined 12 earned runs.
- Blue Jays are 2-6 in last 8 games played on a Monday
- Blue Jays are 0-5 in last 5 games at home against a left-handed starting pitcher
- Blue Jays are 7-15 in last 22 games against an American League West team
- Blue Jays are 1-4 in Estrada’s last 5 starts on the mound
- Astros are 23-7 in last 30 games
- Astros are 41-19 in last 60 games after a win
- Astros are 79-38 in last 117 games against a right-handed starting pitcher
- Astros are 7-2 in Keuchel’s last 9 starts on the road
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Keuchel isn’t blowing anybody away with his pitching stats in recent starts, but the team is still finding a way to win games with him on the mound.
The Astros pitching rotation should be able to limit the Blue Jays’ bats to some degree. They aren’t the worst hitting team in the league, but their middle-of-the-road offense isn’t built to run up the scoreboard consistently, which they will have to do to hang with the Astros.
Estrada being on the mound won’t make things any easier. The Blue Jays’ right-handed pitcher has given up six runs in five innings, and he has only won one of his last four starts. If he struggles, there won’t be much help to look forward to in the bullpen since the Blue Jays have one of the worst pitching rotations in the league. Only the Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles have been worse.
Another strong hitting night from the Astros’ offense will keep them ahead of the A’s in the divisional race, while the Blue Jays succumb to their third loss in three games.
Prediction: Houston Astros (-205)
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 8-2-1 the last 11 times these two teams have gone head-to-head, but nobody needs trend numbers to be convinced to take that total in this one. Two vulnerable pitchers will be on the mound on Monday, leaving open the possibility of a big hitting night from both sides. They should have no problem covering the over in this one.
Prediction: Over (9)