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Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Guardians Betting Preview

Two second-place teams will battle it out in the first of a four-game series on Thursday as the Toronto Blue Jays (16-10, 2nd in the AL East) take on the Cleveland Guardians (11-13, 2nd in the AL Central). This game will be played at Progressive Field in Cleveland, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm ET.

Despite dropping two of three games to the New York Yankees to begin the week, the Blue Jays have still won six of their last ten games. On the road this season, the Blue Jays are 6-4.

In a loaded division, Toronto sits 2.5 games back of the Yankees entering play Thursday. They sit half a game ahead of the third-place Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto currently has the second-best odds of winning the AL East at +135.

After losing seven straight games, the Guardians have now won four of their last five, including a split of a two-game series with the San Diego Padres this week. After the first game was canceled due to rain on Tuesday, the series was played as a doubleheader on Wednesday.

They lost the first game by one run (5-4) but bounced back with a one-run win of their own in the second game (6-5).

Cleveland comes in as the underdog in this one. They are +129 to win while the Blue Jays’ moneyline sits at -139. As the underdog, the runline features Cleveland +1.5 (-130).

Toronto Looks To Display Power In Four-Game Series

From an offensive standpoint, the Blue Jays have already flexed their muscles in the early going with an impressive power display. They currently rank tied for second in home runs with 32 and will look to continue that power display against the Guardians.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springe lead the power surge for Toronto as both have hit six home runs to this point. Guerrero Jr. has a team-leading 17 runs batted in, while Springer has 12 out of the leadoff spot.

Despite hitting just .220/.290/.429, third baseman Matt Chapman, who was acquired in a trade with the A’s in the offseason, has also shown his power with five home runs and 14 runs batted in.

One of the only concerns amongst this group is the strikeouts. While these three, along with Bo Bichette and Zach Collins, have shown power, they have also struck out a combined 121 times.

On the rubber for the Blue Jays in the opener will be 27-year-old righty Jose Berrios. In five starts, Berrios is 2-0 with a 4.13 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and he has struck out 20 in 24 innings.

His last start was by far his best thus far as he picked up the win against Houston, going 5.2 innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits, and striking out five.

Cleveland Has To Get Civale Straightened Out

Last season, Thursday’s starter Aaron Civale was one of Cleveland’s best starting pitchers. In 21 starts in 2021, he went 12-5 with a 3.84 ERA.

Unfortunately, this season has been a whole different story for Civale. In four starts, he is 0-2 with a 10.67 ERA, 1.95 WHIP and has struck out 14 in 14.1 innings. At this rate, if he isn’t careful, he may not have a spot in the rotation for too much longer.

Trying to get Civale’s back is an offense that currently ranks sixth in scoring averaging 4.59 runs per game. The offense is currently led by third baseman Jose Ramirez.

In 88 at bats, Ramirez is hitting .318/.419/.659 and leads the team in both home runs (seven) and runs batted in (29). He is also second on the team in runs scored with 14.

Ramirez has also had some success against Jose Berrios. In 39 at bats, he has a home run and five runs batted in despite hitting just .205.

Franmil Reyes has also had some success against the righty, hitting .364 in 11 at bats. This season, Reyes is hitting just .157/.195/.229, although he does have a couple of home runs and seven runs batted in.

Outside of Ramirez, the most consistent hitters for the Guardians are a pair of rookies. Owen Miller (.344/.425/.590, two home runs, eight runs batted in, 16 runs scored) and Steven Kwan (.328/.419/.443, 12 runs scored) have both been solid.

Take Blue Jays To Win And Cover

This one lines up pretty well for Toronto. Not only has Aaron Civale been struggling mightily to start the season, but the Blue Jays’ Jose Berrios seemed to have figured something in his last start regarding his early-season struggles.

Furthermore, Toronto has been absolutely smashing the ball, both at home and on the road, and that should continue on Thursday. Granted, Cleveland has technically averaged more runs per game, but that is only because of a four-game stretch where they scored 44 runs. Take that out, and Toronto has had the superior offense.

All things in this game point to Toronto winning straight up, and don’t hesitate to take them covering the -1.5 runline (+110) too.

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