It’s about time that Sonny Gray took the mound for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have lost five straight and now every team in the AL Central is under .500. Minnesota needs its ace to save the day in Game 1 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday. Gray will be opposed by Yusei Kikuchi. Gray is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA and Kikuchi is 6-2 with a 4.40 ERA.
While Minnesota is leading the Central at 31-32 the Blue Jays are fourth in the AL East at 36-28. Toronto is 9.5 games back of first in the division, so they need to make up ground when they have a chance to face anyone other than the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, and Orioles.
Let’s check out the odds for Game 1 tonight in Toronto.
Twins vs. Blue Jays odds, run line and total
Twins vs. Blue Jays prediction and pick
Two things are clear about this matchup. First, Sonny Gray is the better pitcher. However the second goes counter to that the Blue Jays are the better team. While Gray has been great for Minnesota, the Twins are only 6-6 in his starts because they’re not a very good team and while Kikuchi is a much worse pitcher the Blue Jays are 9-3 in his starts. It’s important to back the team with better pitching in certain situations, but not always.
The Twins are 26th in OPS against left-handed pitchers this year and their 15 homers off lefties is 23rd in baseball. Byron Buxton is out and that’s not a bad thing because he’s been very bad against lefties this year, but there aren’t many hitters that have been good against them in the Minnesota lineup. Plus in the past week, the Twins are 29th in team OPS, .509 with just two homers in that stretch.
Sonny Gray is good, but the Blue Jays hit the ball hard and Gray has been susceptible to hard hit balls. Gray is 35th percentile in hard hit rate and will be facing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who has a 55.5% hard hit rate, Matt Chapman, 60.7%, Bo Bichette, 47.3%, and Brandon Belt, 45.0%. The Blue Jays will be able to do some damage against Gray and against the Twins in this series. I like Toronto to take Game 1 and to do it convincingly.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change