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GDB 61.0: Offensive fireworks expected as Toronto Blue Jays open series against Houston Astros

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
It’s a new week of baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays as they open a four-game set against the visiting Houston Astros.
With Alek Manoah on the mound, the Jays are actually favourites heading into this game, according to our friends at Betano, something that comes as a bit of a surprise given Manoah’s struggles. But the books — and the public — are expecting offensive fireworks this evening.
The over-under for this game is set at 9.5, with the public pouring in 98 percent of the money on the over in this one. At the time of writing the public is flocking to the over in this game, with 96 percent of the money on that side. The public is siding with the Astros on the moneyline with 70 percent of the money there.
Houston will put fourth-year righty Brandon Bielak on the mound in what will be his first career start against the Blue Jays. Toronto has had some offensive struggles at home this season despite their 15-10 record.
Here are some key offensive numbers highlighting their struggles at the Rogers Center:
  • 106 runs (28th).
  • 226 hits (23rd).
  • 22 home runs (26th).
  • .266 AVG (7th).
  • .335 OBP (8th).
  • .400 SLG (17th).
  • .735 OPS (13th).
  • .134 ISO (25).
Somehow, the Jays have the second-fewest plate appearances at home this season which surely plays into things as well. They’re hitting well for average and getting on base with the best of ’em at home, but the power has been seemingly non-existent. On the contrary, the Jays’ road slugging percentage of .437 and .172 ISO, rank fifth and 10th, respectively.
Tonight, and this series as a whole, will be interesting to watch as the Jays will surely be tested against an Astros team that
First pitch: 7:07 p.m. EST
Weather: 30C. In the dome.
Toronto Blue Jays: 33-27, 8.5 GB, 2.5 WCGB, +31 DIFF.
Houston Astros: 35-24, 3.5 GB, – WCGB, +58 DIFF.
Odds via Betano:
Moneyline: TOR -115; HOU -102.
Starting pitchers:
TOR: Alek Manoah RHP — 1-6, 12 GS, 57.2 IP. 5.46 ERA, 6.27 FIP, 1.769 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, -0.7 bWAR.
HOU: Brandon Bielak RHP — 2-2, 5 GS, 31.0 IP. 3.19 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 1.452 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 0.7 bWAR.
Lineups: 
Toronto 
  1. G Springer (R) DH
  2. B Bichette (R) SS
  3. V Guerrero Jr. (R) 1B
  4. M Chapman (R) 3B
  5. D Varsho (L) LF
  6. W Merrifield (R) 2B
  7. A Kirk (R) C
  8. C Biggio (L) RF
  9. K Kiermaier (L) CF
Astros
  1. M Dubón (R) 2B
  2. J Peña (R) SS
  3. Y Alvarez (L) DH
  4. A Bregman (R) 3B
  5. K Tucker (L) RF
  6. J Abreu (R) 1B
  7. C Julks (R) LF
  8. Y Diaz (R) C
  9. J Meyers (R) CF

Need to bide the time until first pitch?

Tune into the latest edition of Blue Jays Nation Radio as the crew talks about the Jays’ latest series against the New York Mets.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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