Two American League teams with playoff aspirations square off starting Monday as the Toronto Blue Jays (38-28) take on the Chicago White Sox (31-33). The White Sox will host this one at Guaranteed Rate Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.
Over the weekend, the Blue Jays lost two of three to the New York Yankees, but they salvaged one game as they took the finale 10-9. Yimi Garcia took the win in relief, going 1.1 scoreless innings and striking out three.
The Blue Jays hit four home runs, including a grand slam by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the sixth inning. In total, they scored ten runs on seven hits and drew eight walks.
Chicago also lost their last series to the Houston Astros. In the Sunday night game, the White Sox were down 4-3 by Houston.
Michael Kopech took the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits in five innings. The White Sox managed just six hits, with four of them coming from Luis Robert and A.J. Pollock.
In Monday’s opener, the Blue Jays are the favorites despite playing on the road. They are -134 to win while the moneyline of the White Sox is +114. The runline features Chicago +1.5 (-154), and the over/under for total runs is nine.
Blue Jays Trying To Maintain Playoff Positioning
At 38-28, the Toronto Blue Jays already sit 11 games back in the AL East despite being second in the division. Still, if the season ended today, they would hold a playoff position via the Wild Card as they have the third-best record in the American League.
On Monday, they will try to add to their win total and improve on their 5-5 record over their last ten games.
On the mound, Monday will be righty Jose Berrios. In 13 games, Berrios is 5-2 with a 4.65 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and has 62 strikeouts in 71.2 innings pitched.
Berrios comes into this one having won two of his last three starts. In that span, he has given up six runs in 22 innings and has 26 strikeouts in that time.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads the Blue Jays’ offense as he is hitting .267/.355/.510 with a team-leading 17 home runs and 41 runs batted in.
Keep an eye on George Springer in this one. Against Chicago’s Lance Lynn, Springer is hitting .286 in 21 at bats with a home run and four runs batted in. Matt Chapman also has a couple of home runs off of the righty.
White Sox Trying To Improve At Home
Considered heavy preseason favorites to win the AL Central, the White Sox are trying to get back on track as they now sit five games behind the Minnesota Twins. To do so, they have to improve at Guaranteed Rate Field, where they are just 13-17 at this point.
Making his second start of the season Monday will be 35-year-old righty Lance Lynn. In his only game, he gave up three earned runs on ten hits over 4.1 innings to the Detroit Tigers.
The White Sox have been bitten by the injury bug this season, but they will get a big part of their offense back Monday. Tim Anderson is set to return from the injured list. The star shortstop is hitting .356/.393/.503 with five home runs and 19 runs batted in over 163 at bats this season.
Unfortunately, the team will likely be without third baseman Yoan Moncada. It is especially disappointing because Moncada has owned Jose Berrios, hitting .308 in 39 at bats with three home runs.
First baseman Jose Abreu has also had significant success against Berrios. He is hitting .302 in 53 at bats with three home runs and 14 runs batted in.
Take Blue Jays On The Road
After having surgery on his knee back in April, Lance Lynn made his season debut in his last start, but there were plenty of concerns for the White Sox. Not only did the Tigers get to him a bit, but his velocity was down compared to last year.
It may not be a reason to overreact, but it might be a sign that Lynn needs a few starts before he gets completely up to speed. With that being the case, an offense like the Blue Jays may be able to pounce.
On paper, Chicago should be a postseason contender, but they haven’t played to that level yet this year. Until they can prove they are that team, and until Lynn can prove he is back to his top of the rotation self, taking the Blue Jays is the smart play in this one.
Take Toronto on the moneyline at -134.