The Toronto Blue Jays (3-3) open at their new temporary home, the TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida against the Los Angeles Angels (4-2). The Jays will be slight favorites at -110 per the MLB betting odds thanks mostly to having a more potent offense.
This will be the first time the TD Ballpark, the Jays’ traditional spring training facility, will be used as for the regular season. Expect this small ballpark to be hitter friendly, particularly to left-handed hitters. We’re in for a potential slugfest, which favors the Jays by a bit.
Los Angeles Angels Do it For Trout
Let’s face it: talk of the Angels starts and ends with Mike Trout. He’s still considered baseball’s best player and yet the 29-year-old has yet to win a playoff game let alone return to the postseason. The guy is almost 30 now if you can believe it.
There was a lot of action in the off-season, but the Angels quietly did little. They primarily returned their position players from last season and that includes ancient Albert Pujols, who is playing in his last season. 1B/OF Jared Walsh will likely be taking Pujols’ spot in the order more or less.
From a pitching standpoint, the Angels have RHP Dylan Bundy as their ace while they rely heavily on prospects like RHP Griffin Canning, who will be on the mound and will have his work cut out for him. The youngster is looking to build off a promising 2020 campaign that saw him win the Gold Glove.
All in all, this Angels team has enough firepower but will need consistency with their pitching. This sounds kind of like the team they’re up against.
Toronto Blue Jays: Batter Up
The Blue Jays are out to prove last season was no fluke. They made plenty of noise, primarily with the cracks of their bats. This team finished in the top-four in the AL in the sexy batting stats like homeruns, OPS, and SLG.
And they just got better this season although prized signing OF George Springer re-injured himself in rehab. But 2B Marcus Semien already has two homers despite batting just 18.2% this year.
With the Jays’ recent games, they’ve shown exactly why they can be a boom or bust squad: the rotation. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu is a stud and has the lone win among starting pitchers for the squad. But the rest of the lineup is shaky at best.
Combined with their prolific hitting, Jays’ games will be high-scoring affairs like their series against the Rangers. Luckily, they have a solid closer in Julian Merryweather. To this day, Josh Donaldson is helping the Jays out. They just need enough non-disastrous innings and their bats can do the heavy lifting.
My most confident bet here is for the totals to go over 10. The TD Ballpark will be notorious this season as being hitter friendly and we may see the Blue Jays finish in the top-two in the AL in batting stats thanks to playing half their games here.
The Ballpark is also known for being favorable to lefties. Expect Rowdy Tellez to live up to his moniker as he gets cracking against Canning. I get why the Jays aren’t favored any bigger and that’s because RHP Ross Stripling could only go 3.1 innings the last time.
The Angels should also rake against him and the Jays’ bullpen. Between Canning and Stripling, neither pitcher could see the fifth pinning as both teams fill it up. Ultimately, I’d give the Jays the edge thanks to having just more depth in their lineup.