The Toronto Blue Jays (29-25) will face the Houston Astros (31-25) to continue a three-game set on Saturday, which provides fans with a rematch of a May 7 game that also featured Ross Stripling and Jose Urquidy. The Astros were the victors in that one, 10-4, with Urquidy allowing two runs over seven innings to earn the win in his first start against the Blue Jays. Stripling was likewise facing the Astros for the first time, and he yielded three runs in 3 2/3 innings to take the loss.
Free Picks: Toronto Blue Jays vs Houston Astros
Blue Jays’ Stripling and Astros’ Urquidy both have something to prove
Starting pitching is typically a primary focus of most baseball matchups, and that’ll be no different when the Toronto Blue Jays host the Houston Astros to continue their three-game series in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday afternoon.
In this particular case, both starters have something to prove to their team. For Toronto’s Ross Stripling (1-3, 5.11 ERA), he’s seemingly battling with every outing to stay in the rotation. His most recent performance was his best one, with five innings of one-run ball to earn his first win of the season. Before that, he’d allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings, losing to Boston. It’s been a season of ups and downs for Stripling, but mostly downs. Against Houston, he have chip away at that narrative.
With Houston’s Jose Urquidy (4-2, 3.02 ERA), the script has been much less gloomy. But his most recent outing was his first since returning from the injured list; he’d had shoulder inflammation, which forced him out of two turns through the rotation. On May 31, he did to Boston what Stripling couldn’t, earning a win while allowing just one run over six innings.
In hopes of continuing his post-injury success, Urquidy and the Astros enter as -135 money line favorites (10Bet) on Saturday’s MLB picks. The Blue Jays are +110 money line underdogs (10Bet), despite having won 19 of 28 (.679) games all-time at their temporary Buffalo home.
A key factor in this matchup will be the long ball. Not only does Toronto have MLB’s co-leader in home runs (Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 17), but the Blue Jays have more home runs than any other team in the American League with 81. They hit two against Urquidy on May 7, but both were solo shots. They’ll need to do a better job reaching base to really make the home runs against him hurt.
Houston doesn’t hit nearly as many homers (62), but Ross Stripling might help their cause. He has allowed six home runs in his past four starts, and he has a 2.4 home runs per nine rate over his past seven starts.
The way the Blue Jays have played in Buffalo since the 2020 season began is certainly interesting, but the mismatch of Urquidy and Stripling is too vast to overlook. We like the Astros — who entered this series with four wins in their past five games over San Diego and Boston — to take care of this one against the Blue Jays.
- Toronto is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
- The OVER has cashed in six of the Blue Jays’ past 10 games
- Houston is 5-5 on the money line in its past 10
- The UNDER has cashed in three of the Astros’ past three games
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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).