The Toronto Blue Jays will go for their second straight series win when they host the Milwaukee Brewers tonight, but something is bothering me about this matchup. And that is the fact that Alek Manoah will be on the mound and the Jays are still big favorites.
To put it nicely, 2023 has been a train wreck for Manoah. The 25-year-old sparsely resembles the guy who finished third in American League Cy Young voting last season, and I’m not even sure a matchup with the light-hitting Brewers is enough to get him back on track.
Brewers vs Blue Jays odds
Brewers vs Blue Jays predictions
Alek Manoah looks lost on the mound at the moment. Like he has absolutely no answers. His velocity has dipped, his walks are way up, and he is getting smacked around with alarming regularity.
After looking like he built some momentum in a start against the Orioles, that was immediately dashed in his last start vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Manoah lasted just three innings, surrendering five runs (four earned) on three hits and five walks.
His ERA now sits at 5.53, but there is reason to believe that things could get worse before they get better. Manoah’s expected ERA sits at 6.42 and his FIP is at 6.15. He also ranks in the Bottom 18% or worse in MLB when it comes to opponent expected batting average and expected slugging percentage.
Another thing affecting Manoah is his strikeout rate has severely dipped. Now, Manoah is not a huge strikeout guy to begin with, but the numbers this year aren’t pretty. It’s now down to 18% which is just in the 20th percentile in baseball. And he’s striking out just 7.7 batters per nine innings, working out to 0.86 strikeouts per inning.
Now, the Milwaukee Brewers are not a great offensive team, but they fare a little better against right-handed pitchers. And unfortunately, Manoah is in a bad head space right now. Five innings would feel like an absolute win for him here. He is averaging less than five innings a start and hasn’t completed five frames in six of his 11 starts.
I don’t expect him to start racking up the strikeout even in this matchup against the Brewers. Five strikeouts feel about right, and his K total is set at 5.5 — a number he’s gone Over just twice this year.
My best bet: Alek Manoah Under 5.5 strikeouts (-135 at SIA)
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Brewers vs Blue Jays moneyline analysis
I woke up this morning and tweeted this out:
Alek Manoah is a -180 favorite today. And my brain doesn't know how to handle that.— Andrew Caley (@Covers_Caley) May 31, 2023
While some Brewers money has brought this line down a bit, that’s still how I feel this afternoon. The Toronto Blue Jays opened this interleague matchup as -180 home favorites but have since been bet down to the -160 range. Regardless, this is a stay-away game for me.
I get it. Toronto has the better offense and handles RHP very well, and it's going against righty Julio Teheran, who is making just his second start since 2021. While the first one went pretty well, the San Francisco Giants are not the Blue Jays.
Backing Manoah even at the lighter -160 is too much for me to get past. And as I said, the Brewers aren’t a great hitting team, but a middling 19th in average and 20th in OPS vs. right-handed pitching. The Jays’ offense can carry them here but this guy has been just way too inconsistent, no matter who he has faced.
It’s impossible to have confidence in putting your money behind a guy who can lose the strike zone at the drop of a hat, so this is a no-play for me.
Brewers vs Blue Jays Over/Under analysis
When it comes to the total it hit the board this morning at a high of 9.5 and has been bumped up to an even higher 10 as of Thursday afternoon. I would tend to agree with the early money.
I already have little confidence in Manoah on the mound, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brewers exceeded their 4.3 runs per game on the road when facing the right-handers this season.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays rank second in batting average and fourth in OPS and wRC+ when facing right-handed pitchers this season. The Teheran story is a good one, but we saw Toronto jump all over Adrian Houser last night for seven runs.
This lineup can be one of the most dangerous in baseball when it's clicking. It’s a very slight lean to the Over for me, but I would much prefer if you could find it at 9.5.
Brewers vs Blue Jays game info
|Location:||Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON|
|Date:||Wednesday, May 31, 2023|
|First pitch:||7:07 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Sports Wisconsin, Sportsnet|
Julio Teheran (0-1, 1.80 ERA): Teheran made his first start since 2021 last week and it went as well as the Brewers could have hoped. The former Braves All-Star lasted five innings and held the Giants to one run on four hits while striking out five.
Alek Manoah (1-5, 5.53 ERA): To put it simply, nothing is working for Manoah at the moment. His velocity is down, he is battling his control, and he is getting hit hard and often. He might even be pitching worse that the 5.53 ERA with elevated xERA and FIPs.
Trend to know
The Over is 7-2-1 in the Blue Jays' last 10 games overall. Find more MLB betting trends for Brewers vs. Blue Jays