John Gibbons’ Toronto Blue Jays have struggled to build momentum in recent weeks, losing five of their last 10 Major League Baseball games. The Canadian outfit, humiliated by the Texas Rangers in their most recent encounter, were showing signs of putting a run together but they have started to lose their way in the American League East.
Now, their playoff dreams are beginning to fade. Toronto, priced at 33/1 with Bet365 to mount a shock challenge for the World Series, are rock bottom of the division and recent struggles have hindered their chances of regaining ground lost earlier in the campaign. It is almost fair to state that Gibbons’ side are now playing for pride above anything else.
On the other hand, the Kansas City Royals head into this contest in fantastic form. As of June 23rd, the Royals have emerged victorious in eight of their previous 10 MLB games; including two key wins against the Boston Red Sox. It is hard to envision Kansas City slowing down ahead of what could be a huge weekend for both franchises.
Toronto Blue Jays
Over the years, Toronto have fared relatively well against the Royals; winning 44 of the 77 contests between the two sides. However, Kansas City tend to perform well at home and the two-time World Series champions will be confident of bagging at least two more wins this weekend.
The Blue Jays have won five of the last seven meetings but Kansas City have managed to get the better of the Canadian side in recent times. In fact, the Royals have won each of the last two clashes between the franchises; and Toronto will be desperate to reverse that record.
KEY MAN: JUSTIN SMOAK. As previously mentioned, Smoak has been outstanding for the most part of the season and the Blue Jays star deserves to be recognised for his impact at Rogers Centre. After a pretty hit and miss MLB career, Smoak is currently ranked as the top baseman for RBI and is tied for most home runs.
With 19 homers already, Smoak needs just one more to equal his career-high tally of 20 for a single season – and we’re not even halfway through the campaign yet. Watch this space, Smoak could fire Toronto to victory against the Royals this weekend.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been in scintillating form in recent times and they will take some stopping on home soil. Toronto have struggled on the road after a decent start to the year and it isn’t going to get any easier for the Blue Jays here. Kansas City will expect to win this one and they will expect to win comfortably.
Since starting 10-20, Ned Yost’s men have found their swagger and it would now be difficult to back against the Royals in the playoff run. The two-time World Series winners reached MLB’s showpiece in 2014 and 2015 and a return to the big stage could be on the cards this season if they continue to improve.
KEY MAN: MIKE MOUSTAKAS. Kansas City’s big hitter will look to lead his side to victory this weekend and Toronto will be wary of his threat. He leads the team in numerous categories, including home runs and RBI and the Blue Jays will need to contain his scoring if they are to stand any chance of victory.
Toronto will give it their best shot but that might not be enough against a Royals side that is bang in form. Kansas City are a consistent, elite Major League Baseball unit and Yost’s men are beginning to showcase their talent. This could be a very difficult weekend for Canadian fans; the Royals might be too strong.
KANSAS CITY 7-4 TORONTO