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MLB Betting Preview (June 2): Pirates vs. Blue Jays predictions

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
1 month ago
The Blue Jays will look to bounce back from an embarrassing 8-1 loss in the rubber match versus the Pirates. Pittsburgh has recalled Quinn Priester from Triple-A Indianapolis to make the start on Sunday, who has pitched to a 4.33 ERA in 27 innings in MLB this season.
Chris Bassitt will start for the Jays and will be looking to build on back-to-back dominant outings over the lowly White Sox. Bassitt owns a 4.03 ERA and 60 and 1/3 innings pitched this season and put up a 2.40 ERA across 30 innings in the month of May.
Let’s dive into the game odds for Saturday’s matchup between the Pirates and Blue Jays via bet365:

Pirates vs. Blue Jays odds

Pirates Moneyline Odds
+135
Blue Jays Moneyline Odds
-160
Runline Odds
Pirates +1.5 (-155), Blue Jays -1.5 (+130)
Over/Under
Over  runs (-120, Under runs (+100)
Time/Date
June 2, 1:37 p.m. ET
TV
Broadcast: Sportsnet 1, Sportsnet+

Pittsburgh Pirates

Due to a groin strain suffered by Martin Perez, Priester will receive his second chance of the season to work in the Pirates starting rotation. Priester made five starts from April 19 to May 14 and pitched to an ERA of 4.33.
Priester has overachieved a pretty shaky underlying profile so far this season. He owns an xERA of 5.00 and an xFIP of 4.23. He has been hard-hit 50% of the time. He owns a K/BB ratio of only 1.70 this season, which is actually an improvement upon his 1.33 mark in 50 last season.
Priester put up a 7.74 ERA and 6.28 xERA in 50 MLB innings last season. He pitched to a Stuff+ rating of 95 and Location+ of 98. His Stuff+ has regressed to 89 in 2024, while his Location+ has improved to 100.
The Pirates’ offence was quite hard on another lefty starter Saturday, as they beat up on Yusei Kikuchi for five of their eight runs. Pittsburgh features significant righty-lefty splits at the plate, as it owns a 16th-ranked wRC+ of 98 versus left-handed pitchers and a paltry 81 wRC+ versus righties.
Over the last month of play the Pirates own a wRC+ of 82 versus righties, with an OPS of .643. They have struck out 25.5% of the time against righties in that span.

Toronto Blue Jays

Bassitt gets another great matchup on Sunday to build on his excellent recent run of results. While he dominated where it matters in 30 May with his stellar 2.40 ERA, his underlying results improved considerably, as he pitched to an xBA of just .208 and allowed a hard-hit rate of 32%.
Bassitt’s arsenal is rating comparably to last season when he pitched to an ERA of 3.60. The 35-year-old veteran owns a Stuff+ rating of 95, and a Location+ rating of 100.
More than most MLB starters, Bassitt features significantly worse splits each time through the order. He has allowed an OBP of .452 facing batters for a third time in a game this season, which is the third-highest mark among qualified starters this season.
Over the last 30 days, the Blue Jays have an offensive wRC+ of 110 versus right-handed pitchers and an OPS of .725. They have the top BB/K ratio in the league at 0.52 and have hard-hit 31.4% of balls in play.
Hitting with RISP has still been more of a struggle than it should be, but even still, the Jays have found a way to average 4.85 runs per game over a 16-game span with a sound process everywhere else offensively. And while we have seen the Jays struggle with men on for nearly a season and a half now, it still seems unlikely they can be this far below average in that regard all season long.
Predictions for Pirates vs Blue Jays
While the Blue Jays offense has been a clear disappointment relative to the expectations of a playoff hopeful, there is still notable progress of late, even if it is more marginal than most fans desire. In the splits relative to this game it’s still easy to say that the Jays’ lineup does hold far superior upside, and Toronto is still an elite team defensively.
Bassitt gets a great opportunity to continue his strong run here versus one of the league’s worst offences against right-handed pitching. Priester continues to struggle at the big-league level and has to be viewed as the lesser starter in this matchup.
With a fairly notable starting pitching edge in this matchup, the Jays are worthy of being a larger favourite than -160. There is value in backing Toronto at anything better than -165 on Sunday.
Best Bet: Toronto Blue Jays Moneyline -160 (Play to -165)

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