Free Picks: Toronto Blue Jays vs Kansas City Royals

Blue Jays vs Royals Week 3
Toronto Blue Jays vs Kansas City Royals, MLB, Kauffman Stadium

The Kansas City Royals (6-4) host the Toronto Blue Jays (6-6) for the first of four games on Thursday, and there’s an air of mystery in the matchup. Royals players went to bed Wednesday night not knowing which pitcher they’d be facing on the mound the following evening because, in an ultra-rare circumstance, the Blue Jays did not disclose that information. It appears to be less of a gamesmanship move and more a result of Toronto’s rampant injury issues.

Blue Jays sending mystery pitcher to the mound Thursday … who could it be?

If you want to place a bet on the Royals vs. Blue Jays game, you’ll either have to wait until the final few hours before game time, or you’ll have to put your money down while only knowing 50% of the game’s starting pitchers. That’s because while we know Jakob Junis (0-0, 0.00 ERA) while go for Kansas City, we aren’t sure at the time of publication who Toronto is countering with.

The Blue Jays haven’t disclosed such information yet. They would’ve thrown T.J. Zeuch in all likelihood, but he had to move up a day after Ross Stripling was a late scratch on Wednesday with forearm tightness. The most likely options for Thursday are Tanner Roark (0-1, 15.00 ERA), a bullpen game or someone from the alternate training site.

Either way, this uncertainty has understandably spooked bookkeepers from setting MLB odds for this game. You’ll have to check back closer to first pitch because someone has to start this darn game for the Blue Jays. As it stands, though, our BetPicks prediction will primarily focus on the factors of this game that we know for sure.

Here’s one thing we know: Junis has pitched seven scoreless innings so far in 2021, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out nine. He has faced Toronto just once in the past four seasons, and it was a mediocre at best outing (six hits and four runs allowed in seven innings of a losing effort).

The Blue Jays and Royals are both on mini hot streaks as winners in three of their past four. Toronto just beat the heralded Yankees on Wednesday to collect their second series win over the Bronx Bombers already in this short season. Kansas City toppled the Angels on Wednesday to move to 4-2 at home.

Toronto has the two hottest hitters in this game in Bo Bichette (11-game hit streak) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1.105 OPS in 12 games), but the uncertain pitching situation hangs over them like a dark cloud. Roark is used to being a starter, but he was bumped out of the rotation because of his struggles. The bullpen has been great (2.38 ERA, third in MLB), but recent injuries to David Phelps and Julian Merriweather threaten that group’s ability to succeed.

There’s a fair chance that Toronto still ends up being the favorite of this game, murky pitching situation and all. Great! We’ll take the Royals and whatever value they bring when the odds are released.

Stats

  • Toronto is 5-5 on the money line in its past 10
  • The UNDER has cashed in six of the Blue Jays’ past 10 games
  • Kansas City is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
  • The UNDER has cashed in six of the Royals’ past seven games

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Free Picks: New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Rays

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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). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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