Astros Struggling at Home
The Toronto Blue Jays go for a third straight road win when they face the host Houston Astros in the first of a three-game weekend series on Friday night. Toronto took two of three from the Boston Red Sox this week, moving into the top spot in the American League East by a game over the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
Houston has dropped two in a row, falling to .500 and fourth place in the AL West, a half-game behind the third-place Seattle Mariners. This game has significant importance for both teams, so before you decide on a bet online, take a look at our in-depth preview of this contest.
Powerful Blue Jays Also Have Solid Pitching
The Toronto Blue Jays are known for some of their young hitters who can put up big numbers. But they also have a solid pitching staff, as shown by holding the Boston Red Sox to just five runs over their recent three-game series. Kevin Gausman pitched eight-plus innings in Thursday’s 3-2 win.
“If you’re still in the game when they’re singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ in the eighth inning, you’ve done something right,” Gausman said after Thursday’s win. “That’s what I remember about the last time I pitched really well here. It was being out there while they’re playing that song.”
Toronto’s team ERA of 3.79 ranks just 19th in baseball, but the staff has been getting better over the last few games, propelling the team to the top of the division standings.
Right-hander Ross Stripling will try to keep that going when he makes the start for Friday’s series opener. Stripling has yet to record a decision but has a 3.00 ERA through three appearances and one start. Stripling’s last outing was a start against the Oakland Athletics, when he went four innings and allowed no runs on just two hits while striking out three and walking none.
First baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in Thursday’s win, upping his RBI total to 11, which ranks ninth in baseball. Guerrero is batting .304 with two doubles, five home runs and eight runs scored.
Astros Struggle To Get Runs On The Board
The Houston Astros’ offense has not been hitting on all cylinders and they’re coming off a shutout loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday after scoring just two runs in Tuesday’s setback. Houston is batting just .199 as a team, and the big names at the top of the lineup are struggling the most.
Second baseman Jose Altuve is batting just .167. He may not play in this one, however, after missing the last two games with a strained left hamstring.
Designated hitter Michael Brantley has hit over .300 in each of the last four seasons, but he’s hitting just .267. Brantley has two doubles, one home run, five RBIs and four runs scored, but he went 3-for-12 with no extra-base hits in the three-game series against the Angels.
Houston gets a boost with veteran Justin Verlander on the mound on Friday night. The 39-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA. He went eight innings against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday and limited them to three hits and no runs while striking out eight and walking none.
Blue Jays vs Astros Head-to-Head
The Houston Astros have had the edge over the Toronto Blue Jays in the season series in each of the last four years. The Astros took both series between the two teams last year by 2-1 counts, which was the same results as the season matchups in 2018 and 2019.
The Blue Jays haven’t won a series in Houston since the 2016 season, which was the fourth straight year they won more than they lost as the visitor against the Astros. The presence of Verlander on the mound has the MLB lines favoring the home team in this one as well.
Blue Jays vs Astros Game Information
- Game: Blue Jays (8-5) vs Astros (6-6)
- Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston
- Day/Time: Friday, April 22nd. 8:10 p.m. ET
- Blue Jays vs Astros Live Stream: MLB.tv
Blue Jays vs Astros Betting Lines
Blue Jays vs Astros Prediction
As bad as the Houston Astros’ offense has been lately, having Verlander throwing at home means they don’t need a lot of runs to pick up a win. The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t going to make it easy, but we like the Astros to snap their losing streak in this one.
When making your MLB picks, take Houston to get the win at home.