The Astros are one of Major League Baseball’s hottest sides, winning 69 of their 108 games so far this season. Houston are clear of the Seattle Mariners in the American League West and the playoffs are within sight but can Toronto scupper their plans? The Blue Jays may be rock bottom of the American League East but John Gibbons’ men could spring a surprise this weekend if they find their best form.
With seven wins in their last 10 games, Toronto are up there with the Cleveland Indians in terms of recent form in the American League. The Blue Jays have been inconsistent for the entire campaign and their failure to build momentum on a regular basis could cost them in the race for the playoffs. Toronto will need a minor miracle to reach the postseason – and it might be wise for Gibbons to start focusing on the 2018 campaign.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays struggled to inspire confidence throughout the first half of July but Gibbons will be proud of how his side have turned their form around in recent weeks. It might be a case of too little too late but Toronto have shown glimpses of quality and a shock victory over the Astros could be on the cards if the Blue Jays find their A-Game.
On the road, Toronto have been especially poor this year – losing 31 of their 55 MLB games since the opening weekend. On paper, the Blue Jays are blessed with quality but too many of their ‘big names’ have underperformed and the likes of Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar may find themselves out of the Rogers Centre exit door in the offseason unless they turn their form around.
KEY MAN: JUSTIN SMOAK. Toronto have relied on Smoak’s hard hitting for the most part of the season and he will need to be at his brilliant best if the Blue Jays are to stand any chance of victory against Houston. With 31 home runs this campaign, Smoak has been a class above his peers – Kendrys Morales is in second spot with 20 homers.
Smoak has a .304 average; the third highest rating on the Toronto franchise. If Houston keep him quiet, the Blue Jays may struggle to stay in the contest – it is as simple as that.
With the Astros, at a best of 9/4 with William Hill for the World Series, now more or less planning ahead for the playoffs, you can understand how Houston may have taken their foot off the gas. The AL West leaders have been outstanding this year and plenty of punters will be backing the hosts to go all the way and compete for the World Series crown – that is how good they are.
But with six defeats in their last 10 MLB fixtures, are the Astros beatable? Toronto will have to play well to stand any chance of beating Houston IN Houston but they aren’t invincible by any means. Watch this space, the Blue Jays could push the Astros close this weekend.
Recent form guides suggest that Toronto should head into this one as favourites but it isn’t as straightforward as that. Houston know that they are clear in their divisional fight and it is hard to see the Astros falling short – it will take a major collapse on their part. Justin Smoak will carry the weight of Canada on his shoulders once again but not even Smoak can stop the AL West leaders if they go for the jugular. It might be close but backing the Astros on home soil is the smart choice.