MLB Thursday best bets: Blue Jays to rebound vs. Yankees
We put together a solid 2-1 night on Wednesday, with Wade Miley coming one walk short of giving us a sweep.
We'll look to build on it with a couple of plays for one of our last cards of the regular season.
The Blue Jays had a miserable time against the Yankees over the first two games of their series. They faced off against Gerrit Cole and Michael King, both of whom were completely dominant in their efforts to help the Yankees record back-to-back shutouts.
Luckily for the Jays, their inconsistent offense is getting a big break on Thursday night. They'll face Luke Weaver as they attempt to dig out of this rut and pick up a win that would all but officially lock down a playoff spot.
Weaver is one of the worst regular starters you could come across. He owns a 6.47 ERA through nearly 120 innings of work and has won only three decisions on the year.
He throws balls at a high rate, gives up a lot of quality contact, and induces very few ground balls. On paper, Weaver is exactly what the doctor ordered to get the Blue Jays back on track.
He should bring out the best in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.241), Bo Bichette (.214), Whit Merrifield (.203), and some other key Blue Jays who've hit for poor averages in September.
If that's the case, the Jays will be in good hands with Chris Bassitt on the mound. He's allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of the past seven, with a five-spot against a scorching-hot Rangers team being one of the exceptions.
Outside of Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, the Yankees don't have many reliable bats right now. Look for Bassitt to put forth a quality, innings-eating start - as he so often does - and for the Jays to give him plenty of support versus Weaver.
Bet: Blue Jays -1.5 (+115)
Logan Gilbert under 6.5 strikeouts
This total feels too high for Gilbert for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, he's not an extreme strikeout pitcher. He has the tools to put batters away, but it's not something he does at a top-tier level. Gilbert has averaged less than a strikeout per inning this season and has gone under the 6.5 total in 21 of 31 starts (68%).
If you zoom in a little and toss out some strong outputs very early in the season, the picture looks even more grim. Gilbert has registered six strikeouts or fewer in 17 of his past 22 outings (77%).
I have a hard time believing Gilbert will be able to flip the switch and put forth a ceiling game against the Rangers. Five of the past six right-handed starters they've faced failed to go over their strikeout line - and none of them amassed seven strikeouts in a game.
The Rangers are one of the best teams in the majors at limiting strikeouts. They also see Gilbert, a division foe, a lot and know the ins and outs of what he tries to do.
Beyond that, this is essentially an elimination game for the Mariners. If Gilbert shows any signs of struggle, he'll be pulled from the contest.
Seven strikeouts is a lot to ask from a guy on a short leash squaring off against a team that rarely strikes out in bunches.
Odds: -135 (playable to -145)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.