Got over last Sunday’s horrendous 19-1 defeat to the Houston Astros yet, Blue Jays fans? Didn’t think so. Toronto produced one of their worst Major League Baseball performances of all-time; certainly the worst since losing 23-1 to the Baltimore Orioles back in September 2000.
Prior to that contest, Toronto had won four of their previous five league games but that tells its own story. The Blue Jays have struggled to put a consistent run of form together all year and that lack of reliability could be their downfall as we enter the second half of the season.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are also struggling. Detroit are fourth in the American League Central division but have managed to win just 39 games so far this season – although 23 of those have come at Comerica Park. This is a tough one to call but, as is the case so often in Major League Baseball, home advantage could prove crucial.
Toronto Blue Jays
As previously mentioned, the Blue Jays had shown glimpses of a midseason recovery prior to last Sunday’s defeat to the Astros but it is back to square one for John Gibbons. If truth be told, Toronto are in a difficult spot right now and the playoffs look further away than ever before. With three away fixtures at Detroit this weekend, the Blue Jays must come out of the series with at least one win.
According to reports, Toronto are open to trade offers – especially for their veterans. Jose Bautista has failed to live up to the hype after returning to Rogers Centre and Gibbons will be urging his side on in the coming months. The games will start to come thick and fast and only wins can help the Blue Jays in their hunt to sneak into the postseason.
KEY MAN: JUSTIN SMOAK. It’s that man Smoak again. At 30 years old, nobody expected him to have a breakout year – he even made selection for this year’s MLB All-Star team. It is hard to put too much faith in this Toronto side right now but with Smoak in fine form, anything is possible.
With over 40 games remaining, Smoak is on target to top 30 home runs – a solid effort for any player. He has already topped his career-high figure in that particular category but Blue Jays fans will be expecting more. For a while, Smoak has been rated as the top batsman for RBI and he could be their difference maker against Detroit this weekend.
On their day, Detroit are capable of going up against the best in the business but they are prone to inconsistencies with both bat and ball. The Tigers certainly aren’t invincible on home soil despite their positive record and Toronto will have to be aggressive in order to put the hosts under intense pressure.
The Tigers, valued at around 100/1 with Bet365 and others in the betting markets, will need a dramatic shift in the landscape of Major League Baseball to feature in the playoffs. The fact of the matter is that Detroit just aren’t good enough to compete with the elite franchises over the course of an entire season.
This one could go either way but siding with the hosts might be the smart choice. Toronto are arguably stronger on paper but last weekend’s thrashing at the hands of Houston could play on their minds here. Detroit have won two of the last three at home and the Tigers could be ready to notch a few more wins when Toronto visit in the coming days.
BLUE JAYS 4-6 TIGERS