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Blue Jays vs. Cardinals, 2:15 ET
The Blue Jays did make the playoffs last season, but it was a bit of a disappointment as they ultimately fell short of making any real noise in the playoffs. On the Cardinals side, they kind of slowly plodded through the season and ultimately won the division after a big run late in the year. Starting against each other this season is, whether you like it or not, a potential World Series matchup. I know I’m jumping the gun here, but before we get to the playoffs or World Series, let’s focus in on this game.
Kevin Gausman is taking the hill for the Blue Jays in the second game of the season. He was phenomenal for the Giants two years ago and was still pretty solid for Toronto last year even if it wasn’t quite as good as his last season in San Francisco. The opener for the game before the Blue Jays and Cardinals was a bit of a wild one with the game ending 10-9. There was no lack of offense with 19 hits for the Blue Jays and they were able to put up 10 runs without any balls leaving the yard. This one should be lower scoring on both sides. Gausman was significantly better on the road last season with a full two run lower ERA as a visitor. Cardinals hitters are just 18-for-68 against him in their careers, but five of those hits have been home runs. He did face the Cardinals twice last season. He allowed five runs in his home start, and zero runs in his road start, which amplifies my point about his road success.
The Cardinals are a team that I put a ton of stock into before the season. I think they will do a great job offensively this year and I think they have the potential to be one of the best teams in the National League. They may have some struggles with their pitching staff, and we saw that in the first game of the season. Jack Flaherty is taking the ball for the Cardinals, and to be honest, he is a guy that I put a lot of faith into despite his often injured status. He only made eight starts last season and ended up with a 4.25 ERA for the season. He has been successful in limited appearances against the Blue Jays hitters. Over 25 at-bats, the Blue Jay hitters have only gotten three hits off of Flaherty. When Flaherty is on, he has the stuff to beat pretty much any team.
I like the way that both teams are playing but I do think this total is a bit low. 7.5 is usually reserved for two aces and both of them are very good pitchers, but I think we are going to see both teams offenses still shine over the pitching in this one. Take over 7.5 in this game.