Toronto needs a win heading into the September 23rd Blue Jays at Twins matchup. The Blue Jays have slipped to 0.5 GB of the Yankees after dropping two of three to the Yankees last series. New York has Thursday off, and Toronto has a very winnable game against a Twins squad that is 2-7 over their last 9 home games.
The Blue Jays are a -145 favorite on Thursday night at Target Field, but the Twins looked good in getting wins in both of their games against the Cubs the last two nights. Minnesota also lost two of three in Toronto last weekend as +151 and +197 underdogs.
Blue Jays Need to Get Back on Track
Toronto started off 12-1 in September, but are just 4-4 over their last 8 games. The Blue Jays still have a 52.1% playoff probability, but need a good four games in the Twin Cities before heading home for three with the Yankees and three with the Orioles to close out the season.
The Blue Jays didn’t do much offensively on Thursday, falling 7-1 to Tampa Bay while managing just 4 hits. Overall Toronto has had a solid week at the plate otherwise, with Vlad Guerrero, Jr. and Corey Dickerson both posting a .450+ OBP over the past week. Toronto ranks #3 in the majors in runs/game (5.22) and is tops in OPS and HRs.
Steven Matz (13-7, 3.84 ERA) is up in the rotation for the Blue Jays, and Minnesota is 7-17 their last 24 vs. LH starters. Matz has held opponents to 2 ER or less in 10 of his last 11 starts, including last Saturday against the Twins where he tossed 5-2/3, giving up 2 ER due to one mistake on a Josh Donaldson 2-run HR. Toronto has won four straight Matz starts.
Twins Bats Clicking Right Now
Minnesota took both games at Wrigley Field the last two nights, belting out 25 hits in the process. Donaldson, Max Kepler, Nick Gordon, and Mitch Garver all had 3-hits in Tuesday’s win over the Cub, Kepler added 3 more hits on Wednesday including a couple of home runs and had 10 total bases. .
There isn’t much of a home field advantage for Minnesota coming back to Target Field. The Twins are 6 games below .500 at home on the year and have dropped 7 of their last 9 on their own diamond. Minnesota will have to see if their bats stay hot in the trip back home for the September 23rd Blue Jays at Twins matchup as 7 players are hitting better than .300 over the past week.
Michael Pineda (7-8, 3.74 ERA) makes his second straight appearance vs. Toronto, allowing 1 ER over 5.2 IP last weekend. Pineda has a 1.32 ERA in three September starts. Pineda is 3-4 with a 3.94 ERA at Target Field this season.
September 23rd Blue Jays at Rays Pick
Toronto needs the win on Thursday to climb back into a tie with the Yankees for the 2nd wild card spot. Pineda has pitched well for Minnesota the last three times out, but Minnesota has struggled at home recently and haven’t fared well vs. LH starters over the past couple weeks either.
Blue Jays 7 Twins 5
Free Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -141