A day after picking up a close win over the Houston Astros, the Toronto Blue Jays will look to clinch a series win in the finale of these teams’ four-game series on Thursday. First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET. The Astros will send ace Framber Valdez (6-4, 2.16 ERA) to the mound, while the Blue Jays counter with Jose Berrios (5-4, 3.66 ERA).
Houston enters as the -120 moneyline favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Toronto is a +100 underdog. The run total is set at 8.
Astros-Blue Jays picks: Thursday, June 8
Out: OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery), SP Lance McCullers Jr. (right arm muscle strain), SP Jose Urquidy (right shoulder inflammation), SP Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery)
Toronto Blue Jays
Out: C Danny Jansen (left groin strain). RP Zach Pop (right hamstring), SP Mitch White (right elbow inflammation), SP Hyun Jin Ryu (Tommy John surgery)
Framber Valdez vs. Jose Berrios
Valdez dazzled against the Angels last time out, and enters tonight’s start with a 2.16 ERA in 79 innings this season. Valdez continues to get opponents to beat the ball into the ground (60.6% ground ball rate), and is holding batters to a batting average under .170 with both his curveball (.167) and cutter (.156).
On the other end, Berrios is putting things back together after a rough start to the season, as he tallied a 3.19 ERA in May after an eye-popping 4.71 mark in April that was inflated by two bad starts. Berrios currently ranks in the 81st percentile in average exit velocity and the 87th percentile in hard hit rate, as his fastball command has been much improved and allowed his nasty slurve to shine.
While both these pitchers are on a bit of a hot streak, I’m backing the over here. These two teams cleared this number in the first game (thanks in large part due to the recently demoted Alek Manoah), and I’m expecting that to happen again tonight in a game that will highlight both offenses.
Pick: Over 8.5
The Astros are the pick here, in large part because of Valdez. These teams have looked pretty even through the first three games of this series, which means that any marginal advantage will loom large.