The Toronto Blue Jays (40-36) will face the Seattle Mariners (41-38) to begin a three-game series on Tuesday, which also serves as the opener for their six-game season series in 2021. When these teams last faced in 2019, the Mariners took four of six games, including two of three on the road. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was merely an American League Rookie of the Year candidate back then, though, and not quite the AL MVP frontrunning candidate he is now.
Free Picks: Toronto Blue Jays vs Seattle Mariners
Blue Jays heavy favorites in first match vs. Mariners since ‘19
As winners in seven of their past eight games, the Blue Jays appear to be hitting their stride. And with one of their 2021 hidden gems on the mound in Robbie Ray, Toronto enters Tuesday’s matchup with the just-as-hot Mariners as substantial favorites.
Zoom in on both teams’ recent hot streaks and you’ll notice something: Toronto has feasted on two of baseball’s worst teams — Baltimore (24-54) and Miami (33-44) — to collect all seven of its recent wins. Most of Seattle’s victories have come over far more impressive opponents: two against the White Sox (45-32) and a four-game sweep of the Rays (47-32).
Against each other, the Blue Jays and Mariners are a wash this year — only because they haven’t played each other yet!
We can certainly give the starting pitching edge to the Blue Jays, as Ray (5-3, 3.35 ERA) has proven to be well worth the one-year deal he signed this past offseason. The grunting left-hander has a career-low walk rate (2.2 BB/9), and he’s enjoying a 2.90 ERA over his past nine starts. His problem has been home runs; Ray has allowed an AL-high 18 this year. But the Mariners aren’t a homer-happy team, per se, with 94 home runs as a team this season (15th in MLB).
You know who likes to hit home runs? Guerrero Jr. The 22-year-old entered Monday night alone in the lead for homers, with 26. He’s also tops in the MLB All-Star voting race, which is hardly a surprise when you think about his 1.127 OPS.
Can one player beat you in baseball? Rarely, unless that guy is throwing off a mound. But Guerrero Jr. has that type of effect with the way he’s swinging right now. Pitchers prefer not to give him anything to hit, but that means dealing with the likes of Bo Bichette (MLB leader in runs scored), Teoscar Hernandez (reigning Silver Slugger Award winner) and George Springer (a two-time Silver Slugger winner and 2017 World Series MVP).
Seattle’s Flexen (6-3, 3.87 ERA) is having a solid season, but let’s face it: He has never faced this lineup. He faced George Springer in a game once, and Springer went 1-for-3 with a home run. In this BetPicks prediction, we reckon Flexen isn’t going to enjoy seeing the power-hungry Blue Jays lineup in the other dugout.
- Toronto is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
- The UNDER has cashed in four of the Blue Jays’ past six games
- Seattle is 5-5 on the money line in its past 10
- The UNDER has cashed in five of the Mariners’ past eight games
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The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox continue a three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, August 4 at 7:10 p.m. ET, with Detroit’s Casey Mize expected to face Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez.
The Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds begin a two-game series at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday, August 3 at 7:10 p.m. ET, with Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda expected to face Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle.
After a Friday night victory from the Nationals, Washington looks to keep rolling against their National League rival Chicago Cubs.
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).