Yankees vs Blue Jays Picks and Predictions: Vlad Takes Care of Business

The Yankees clinched the AL East last night and the Blue Jays are still fighting for the AL's top wild card. After a rough showing on Tuesday, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should be in better form tonight, adding to his impressive resume vs. Gerrit Cole.

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2022 1:07 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Toronto Blue Jays MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole could have some trouble focusing on the strike zone tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Cole and the Yankees were busy popping champagne bottles after clinching their first American League East crown since 2019 thanks to last night’s 5-2 victory over the Blue Jays.

But while New York spent the night celebrating, Toronto was left wanting about what could have been. At least now the Jays can focus solely on a wild-card spot, which they have a chance to clinch tonight.

Does that extra motivation — and the Yanks' lack of it — give the Jays value as underdogs tonight?

I break it down and give you my best bet in tonight's MLB picks and predictions for this AL East battle between the Yankees and Blue Jays.

Yankees vs Blue Jays best odds

Yankees vs Blue Jays picks and predictions

The Blue Jays had to watch the Yankees celebrate last night partially because of some gaffes and mistakes which in the end cost them last night’s game.

Now, losing the AL East was inevitable, but the point is those errors have been far too prevalent at times for the Jays this season and could cost them in postseason play if it continues. And manager John Schneider was not impressed, going as far as to basically say Vladimir Guerrero Jr. needs to do a better job.

So, we’re betting that Vladdy responds to his manager's pleas in a positive way tonight.

Guerrero's proclivity for ground balls has been a subject of much debate this season — and was a concern in 2019 and 2020 as well. The Blue Jays first baseman is hitting balls into the dirt at a higher rate than at any point of his career but has still launched 30 balls out of the park and his average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage still rank among the best in baseball. 

And tonight he gets an interesting matchup against Cole.

The Yankees ace is having an OK season by his standards, pitching to a 3.49 ERA. His strikeout numbers and whiff percentage are still high, but when Cole gets hit, he’s been getting hit hard.

So hard that the 31 home runs he has surrendered are the most in the American League this season. On top of that, who knows how focused he’ll be after last night’s party? 

Vladdy also took Cole deep twice in the same game back in April. 

We are getting a good price in a good matchup so there's value to be had on Vladdy finding that power stroke tonight.

My best bet: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Over 0.5 home runs (+600 at DraftKings)

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Yankees vs Blue Jays moneyline analysis

Yes, the Yankees were crowned AL East champs last night, which means several regulars could be given the day off to, um, recover (other than probably Aaron Judge, who is still searching for his 61st and AL record-tying home run of the season).

That, plus the implied lack of motivation has the Yankees as just slight -125 favorites for this game. That said, this is still a baseball game where Cole is toeing the rubber against Mitch White.

While Cole has had his issues with the long ball, White’s problems have been worse.

The 27-year-old right-hander has put together two of his better outings in a row as a Jay, both against the Rays, but he still allowed six runs on 12 hits over 10 innings. 

Prior to that, White had an 8.17 ERA in six appearances with Toronto, surrendering an .878 OPS to opponents. Meanwhile, the Yankees rank sixth in OPS when facing right-handed hurlers this season. 

It’s easy to understand the line in this game. The Jays have a lot to play for, the Yankees don’t. But with this pitching matchup, the line should probably still be in the Yankees -150 range. 

Now, if Alek Manoah was pitching tonight, it might be a different story. But with little value on the Blue Jays, I would stay away.

Yankees vs Blue Jays Over/Under analysis

The total for this game hit the board at 7.5 and that’s where it sits as of early Wednesday afternoon. And right off the bat, this number feels a tad low.

As noted, the Jays will be motivated to punch their ticket to the postseason with a win and an Orioles loss tonight. And, despite its shortcomings, this is still one of the more dangerous lineups in baseball.

Specifically, Toronto ranks first in batting average and OPS in MLB when going against right-handers this season.

Meanwhile, Cole has surrendered four or more runs in each of his last three starts and has given up seven earned runs on nine hits over 11 2-3 innings of work against the Blue Jays this season,

Additionally, it’s unlikely the Yankees use any of their high-leverage relievers in this one after clinching last night.

Throw in White for the Blue Jays and I would lean towards the Over.

Yankees vs Blue Jays trend to know

The Over is 4-0 in Gerrit Cole’s last four starts and 4-0 in Mitch White’s last four starts. Find more MLB betting trends for Yankees vs. Blue Jays

Yankees vs Blue Jays game info

Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2022
First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
TV: YES, Sportsnet

Starting pitchers

Gerrit Cole (12-7, 3.49 ERA): The Yankees right-hander is not exactly peaking at the right time. Cole owns a 6.35 ERA and is surrendering a .903 OPS over three starts in the month of September.

Mitch White (1-6, 5.12 ERA): White has given the Blue Jays some valuable innings lately and his 3.77 FIP gives the coaching staff hope that better times are ahead for the right-hander.

Yankees vs Blue Jays latest injuries

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Yankees vs Blue Jays weather

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