As the All-Star break nears, the Toronto Blue Jays (45-40) and Seattle Mariners (43-42) already find themselves in a heated battle for possession of the third and final American League Wild Card spot.
The Mariners have already taken the first two games of the four-game set and have closed the gap to two games in that race, and can erase the lead entirely if they can continue on their six-game winning streak through the weekend.
Toronto is attempting to stop the bleeding, having lost seven of their last eight. Can the Jays turn it around and maintain their Wild Card lead or will the surging Mariners continue on their path to end their 20+ year playoff drought?
Continue reading our free MLB picks and predictions for Blue Jays vs. Mariners on Saturday, July 9th.
Blue Jays vs Mariners odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Despite their struggles as of late, the Blue Jays opened as -120 favorites and have stayed at that number for the most part. The total opened at 7.0 and has since moved up to 7.5 with some books even showing heavy juice on the Over.
Blue Jays vs Mariners predictions
Picks made on 7/09/2022 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
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Blue Jays vs Mariners game info
• Location: T-Mobile Park, Seattle, WA
• Date: Saturday, July 9, 2022
• First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
• TV: Sportsnet, Root Sports
Blue Jays vs Mariners betting preview
Alek Manoah (9-3, 2.33 ERA): After such an impressive rookie campaign last year (3.22 ERA, 1.05 WHIP), expectations were high heading into 2022. Manoah has once again managed to surpass them, managing an even better 2.33 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. He is coming off one of his lower-end starts on the season, having allowed six hits, two walks, and four earned runs in 5.2 innings of work. It was just the second start in which he has allowed more than three earned runs.
Robbie Ray (7-6, 3.62 ERA): Last year's American League Cy Young winner posted a 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP after three seasons of massively diminishing returns since his 2017 All-Star appearance, culminating in a 6.62 ERA campaign in 2020. Ray struggled a bit early on but has been very solid since mid-June, allowing just three earned runs total across his last five starts.
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Betting trend to know
The Blue Jays have gone Under the total in four of their last five, and have managed to score more than three runs just once in the last eight games. Find more MLB betting trends for Blue Jays vs. Mariners
Blue Jays vs Mariners picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
A lot of respected analysts pegged Robbie Ray as a future star during his early years. After delivering a 2017 campaign that included a 15-5 record, 2.89 ERA, and an All-Star appearance, the stars seemed aligned for that to happen.
However, Ray followed that up in the next three seasons with campaigns that included 3.93, 4.34, and 6.62 ERAs. By the end of that stretch and heading into the 2021 season, many had abandoned the Robbie Ray ship. But despite that, Ray defied those odds and won the AL Cy Young last year with a sparking 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP).
He struggled a bit to start the 2022 season with his new team in Seattle, notching a 4.97 ERA through early June. But since then, the now 30-year-old has reminded everyone of the 2017 and 2021 iterations of Robbie Ray. Across his five starts since, Ray has gone six or more innings in each appearance and has allowed just three earned runs combined. In his last four starts, he has also posted strikeout totals of 10, 6, 8, and 12.
Tonight, he will be tasked with turning around the Blue Jays' recent misfortune. Toronto is dropped the first two games of a four-game series to the Mariners, the team now just two games behind them for the final American League Wild Card spot. Those misfortunes don't just end there, as they extend further out to a larger eight-game stretch in which the Jays have won just once.
Toronto scored more than three runs just once during that time, and even in their lone win, they managed to just plate two runners. In a limited sample size (just 36 combined plate appearances), Ray has struggled against these Blue Jays. He has allowed a .301 batting average and .6667 slugging percentage, but to his credit, he has also struck out batters 36.6% of the time.
George Springer is 5-for-12 in his career against Ray while having the largest sample since of any Toronto batter. Across from the Mariners' lefty tonight is Alek Manoah, arguably baseball's brightest young arm. There was a lot of hype surrounding Manoah as he neared his major league debut last season and he delivered in his sophomore season with a 3.22 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 9-2 record.
With such an impressive rookie campaign, expectations were sky-high heading into the 2022 season. So far, he has again crushed them as Manoah has managed a sterling 2.33 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. Across his 16 starts thus far, he has just two in which he has allowed more than three earned runs. One of those two did come in his last start, a 5 2-3 inning outing in which he allowed six hits, two walks, and four earned runs to the A's.
Nevertheless, the 24-year-old has managed absurd advanced metric rankings, ranking in the 97th percentile in hard hit percentage, 91st percentile in barrel rate, and 86th percentile in walk rate. Manoah's excellence is exactly why the Blue Jays are favored tonight despite the recent forms from both of these teams.
Prediction: Blue Jays moneyline (-120 at FanDuel)
Toronto possesses the third-best Overs record in the MLB at 46-38-1 (54.8%). However, in road games, the Jays have managed just a 21-20-1 (51.2%) record towards the Over.
Seattle is around league-average in terms of their totals performances, going 43-40-2 (51.8%) towards the Under. At home, the Mariners' record is a little more Unders heavy at 23-18-1 (56.1%).
Given their current skid and lack of offensive production, it's no surprise that the Blue Jays have gone Under the total in four of their last five. But prior to that, they went 18-3 towards the Over in the previous 21 games. On the flip side, the Mariners have gone Over the total in three of their last four, and 15-6-1 to the Under in their previous 22.
Given that the total has already moved from 7.0 and 7.5 and continues to take action on the Over, it's best to not play behind the steam. It's not a convincing case, but not every total needs action. We suggest passing, but lean towards the Under out of principle.
Prediction: Under 7.5 (-120 at FanDuel)
Entirely to his credit, Robbie Ray has been absolutely terrific as of late. Surrendering just three earned runs across five starts is immensely impressive, and no one would be faulted for siding with that type of stretch.
But Ray's entire career has been full of small and large-scale inconsistency and variance. No matter if things are going well or poorly, Ray has the tendency to flip his fortunes and misfortunes on a dime — that is just the type of pitcher he is.
Alek Manoah, on the other hand, has been nothing but incredibly reliable and excellent in his short time as a major leaguer. It's not often you see highly-touted pitching prospects come into their first season and deliver results beyond expectations in a sample size as large as Manoah's last year (20 starts).
And then for him to face arguably unrealistic raised expectations in his second-year campaign and exceed those as well? That's rare and worthy of backing. No disrespect to Ray, but Manoah is the pitcher to bet on in tonight's duel.
Pick: Blue Jays moneyline (-118 at FanDuel)