- The second play of my STP is a 9* on the Tor Blue Jays at 8:10 ET.
The Toronto Blue Jays missed a wild card spot by ONE game in 2021 but were a 'sexy' preseason pick to best the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees in the brutally tough AL East in 2022. The Minnesota Twins went just 73-89 in 2021 (20 games behind the division-winning White Sox), after winning the AL Central in 2019 and 2020. The Yankees have blown away the competition in the AL East, so Toronto will need to make the postseason via the wild card route (more later. As for the Twins, they currently lead the AL Central with a 55-50 record but lead Cleveland by just ONE game and Chicago by just TWO.
Jose Berrios (8-4, 4.96 ERA) will get the start for Toronto and Tyler Mahle (5-7, 4.40 ERA) for Minnesota, in the second game of this four-game series (Jays won Thursday's opener 9-3). Berrios won 40 games for the Twins from 2017-19 but was traded last July to Toronto during the 2021 season. The Blue Jays went 5-0 in his April starts, despite Berrios posting a less-than-spectacular 4.13 ERA. However, by the end of June, Berrios was just 5-4 with a 5.86 ERA after 15 starts (note: Toronto was 10-5 in his starts). Berrios enters this contest coming off a 3-0 July in which the Blue Jays went 6-0, as he posted a 3.00 ERA. Doing the math, Toronto is a MONEY-MAKING 16-5 in his 2022 starts.
Tyler Mahle will make his Minnesota Twins' debut on Friday night, after arriving in Minnesota on Wednesday in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds. I'm not sure what the Twins see in Mahle, who in his 5 1/2-years with Cincy was 31-38 with a 4.35 ERA. Let me point out that he somehow went 13-6 last season (was 5-7 in 19 starts this season / Reds were 8-11) and if one subtracts that aberration, Mahle's record falls to 18-32.
Toronto went through a 1-9 slide (July 2-10) but are 13-4 under new manager John Schneider, including 9-3 since the All-Star break. Toronto owns the No. 1 wild card spot at 59-46, FIVE games clear of the playoff 'cut line.' Meanwhile, the Twins stumbled into the break losing SEVEN of 10 and have returned to go just 5-6. Toronto is surging and has regularly won when Berros gets the start (see above for a reminder).