Texas (0-0) at Toronto (0-0)
When: Friday, April 8th 2022
Where: Rogers Centre,
Time: 7:07 ET | TV: MLB.tv
Opening Odds: Toronto -185/9.5
The Toronto Blue Jays will open their season in Ontario for the first time since 2019 when the host the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they played their home games at the park of their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo during the shortened 2020 season. They opened the 2021 season at their spring training site at Dunedin, Fla., moved to Buffalo and returned to Toronto in late July. Unvaccinated players will not be allowed to play in Toronto, so it will be interesting to see who won’t be playing this year for opposing teams.
The Blue Jays could be the most talented team in the American League, despite losing Marcus Semien and Cy Young winner Robbie Ray in free agency. They have filled those gaps by signing free-agent pitchers Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi to fill out a rotation that has Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah and Opening Day starter Jose Berrios. They also made a splash by acquiring third baseman Matt Chapman in a trade with the Oakland Athletics to bolster an already dangerous lineup.
The Rangers were swept in the 2016 ALDS by the Blue Jays, and Texas hasn’t come close to the playoffs since. Texas has had five straight losing seasons including on 60 victories in 2021. The Rangers did spend a lot of money during the offseason, signing former NL Rookie of the Year and World Series MVP Corey Seager of the Dodgers to a 10-year, $325 million deal and former Blue Jays second baseman Semien to a seven-year, $175 million contract. Semien was third in the 2021 AL MVP voting, batting .265 with 45 homers and 102 RBIs. They also signed Kole Calhoun and right-hander Jon Gray – their Opening Day starter. Toronto won four of the six meetings last season and all three at home (Buffalo).
Pitchers: Rangers – Jon Gray (0-0, 0.00) | Blue Jays – Jose Berrios (0-0, 0.00)
Texas’ new “Ace” is Gray, who was 8-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 29 starts last year with Colorado. Gray has only faced Toronto twice and is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA, but hasn’t faced them since the 2019 season.
Berrios was acquired from the Twins during last season and got a big extension in the off-season. In 12 starts with the Jays, he was 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA including a no-decision against Texas last season, allowing three runs over six innings. Berrios was a combined 12-9 with a 3.52 ERA in 32 starts between Toronto and Minnesota.
Toronto is going to be a heavy favorite in almost every home game this season, but they won’t win them all. The Rangers are going to be much better than 2021 and they are worth a shot here.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free MLB Picks page for today.
Pick: Rangers +155