The Kansas City Royals go for a third straight win when they face the Toronto Blue Jays in the first of a three-game weekend series on Friday night. The first pitch is at 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
The Royals won three of four from the Chicago White Sox this week. Kansas City is 45-46 and in fourth place in the AL Central, trailing the third-place Detroit Tigers by three games.
Toronto is coming off a 13-1 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, splitting a four-game series with the AL East leaders. The Blue Jays are 51-48 and in fourth place in the AL East, trailing the third-place New York Yankees by one game.
MLB odds have the Blue Jays with a moneyline of -205, while the Royals are listed at +175. The over/under has been set at 10½ runs.
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The Royals will have left-hander Daniel Lynch on the mound. The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 7.88 ERA in his first four major league starts, striking out 11 and walking five over 16 innings.
Lynch’s first three starts came in May, but he came back to the Royals for a start Sunday against Detroit. He picked up his first major league win, throwing eight shutout innings and allowing just five hits while striking out four and walking one.
Kansas City has been led by All-Star catcher Salvador Perez. The veteran has a team-high .280 batting average as well as pacing the team with 25 home runs and 65 RBIs, adding 18 doubles and 48 runs scored.
Outfielder Whit Merrifield has also been solid, batting .271 and leading the Royals with 24 doubles and 56 runs scored. Merrifield also has two triples, eight home runs, 53 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases, which leads all of baseball.
It’s been 670 days since the Blue Jays played in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are finally coming back. Toronto has played its home games at its spring training facility in Florida and at the home of its Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo this season.
“All of our players are really excited to get back to Toronto to be able to play in front of those Toronto fans,” Toronto pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu said through a translator after picking up the win on Thursday. “We’ve got a lot of games ahead of us, a lot of consecutive games without any off days, but we’ve just got to stick in there and be very excited to go back.”
Right-hander Ross Stripling will get the start, looking to improve his 3-6 record and 4.84 ERA. Stripling has 84 strikeouts and 25 walks over 80 innings.
The 31-year-old has dropped his last two decisions, going 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in four July starts. His last outing was solid, though, as he went five innings against the Mets on Sunday and allowed one run on five hits while striking out six and walking none.
Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 33rd home run in Thursday’s rout of the Red Sox. Guerrero is second in the league in that category but leads baseball with 83 RBIs and 80 runs scored. He’s also second with a .328 batting average and has 19 doubles.
Right behind Guerrero in the runs scored category is shortstop Bo Bichette, who has scored 79 times to rank second in baseball. Bichette has 19 doubles, a triple, 18 home runs, and 69 RBIs, batting .296.
The Royals took three of four in the first series between these teams, though that was in mid-April. Kansas City has struggled on the road, going 17-31, while the Blue Jays are 22-22 at their previous home venues.
Kansas City will have Mike Minor (8-8, 5.32 ERA) on the mound for Saturday’s game, followed by Brad Keller (7-9, 5.55) in the series finale. Toronto will counter with Alek Manoah (2-1, 2.90) in the series’ second game, followed by Robbie Ray (9-5, 3.04) on Sunday.
Toronto Wins At Home
The Royals are playing well, but the Blue Jays are going to get a major lift playing in Toronto for the first time in two seasons. Thursday’s win over the Red Sox also gave the Blue Jays a lot of momentum coming into this series.
When doing your MLB betting, take Toronto to win at home.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -205