The Toronto Blue Jays wrapped up their first full week of the 2022 season with a 2-1 series win over the Oakland Athletics, winning Sunday 4-3 to improve their record to 6-4 on the young season. That’s enough to lead the American League East.
If there is one thing lacking from this Toronto Blue Jays team thus far it is consistency. But the positives heavily outweigh the negatives.
The Jays came into the season as one of the favorites to win the World Series, trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. After just over a week of action they remain near the top of the Ontario sports betting odds boards at +850 to win it all. After an opening weekend series win over the Texas Rangers, Toronto traveled to New York and split a four-game series with the Yankees before coming home to outplay the Athletics.
The Ontario sports betting and iGaming markets went live on April 4 — in time for the start of the MLB season.
Updated World Series Odds
|⭐ Los Angeles Dodgers||+500|
|⭐ Toronto Blue Jays||+850|
|⭐ Houston Astros||+1000|
|⭐ Chicago White Sox||+1100|
|⭐ New York Yankees||+1100|
|⭐ Atlanta Braves||+1200|
Offense Drives Early Wins
Offense is the clear strength of the team and it has shown the potential to take over games, but the Jays have also been held scoreless twice, both in losses to the New York Yankees over the past week. To no one's surprise the headline act has been Vladimir Guerrero.
Guerrero entered the season as the betting favorite to win the home run title and through 10 games he has given Ontario sports bettors hope. He sits atop the league with five home runs, including three in one game against the Yankees.
He showed his ability to win games singlehandedly that night, tacking on a double and carrying the Jays to victory. The next day was a different story as Guerrero struck out four times in a shutout loss. But the ceiling is there for him any night against any pitcher.
Guerrero hasn’t been the only Blue Jay producing offense as offseason acquisition Matt Chapman also has a couple of home runs including one against his former Oakland teammates. He is second on the team with seven RBIs. George Springer carried the offense in a 3-0 win over New York to open that series, and Santiago Espinal has shown that he can help replace some of the offense lost when Marcus Semien departed in the offseason, consistently getting on base.
The biggest disappointment offensively has been Bo Bichette, who has been quiet at the plate since a solid opening series against Texas. But his solid defensive play has overshadowed any shortcomings offensively. Bichette will need to build upon his two-hit performance in the finale against Oakland as the Jays offense will be missing slugger Teoscar Hernandez until late April with a left oblique strain sustained against the Yankees.
Inconsistent Pitching for Jays
The pitching has been similarly inconsistent with Alek Manoah, Jordan Romano and Kevin Gausman delivering quality performances, but Hyun-Jin Ryu in particular struggling, giving up five runs in four innings to Oakland in his second straight poor start. Ryu has been put on the injured list after experiencing left forearm soreness and his return is currently unknown.
The rest of the rotation has been solid, unquestionably led by Manoah, who went six innings deep in both of his starts. He has 13 strikeouts and a 1.50 ERA through two games and a lot of success has come from incorporating a changeup into his arsenal more frequently. He gave a lot of credit for his improvement with that pitch to Gausman, who has been another bright spot early, striking out nine in his second start of the season against the Yankees. But it was a wasted effort as the offense didn’t give him any support in a 3-0 loss.
Bullpen Comes Up Big
Jordan Romano has been sensational as closer early on, converting all of his save opportunities and he leads the league in that department with six after Sunday’s win. The bullpen has been strong overall, being called upon often with some of the struggles the starters have faced.
Adam Cimber has been credited with a league-leading three wins out of the bullpen already, and Ross Stripling was even called upon to start a game against Oakland as manager Charlie Montoyo looks to give his starters some rest with the busy early schedule. The Jays won that game and will likely start Stripling again in the coming weeks as they play 20 straight games after a day off Monday.
Toronto’s busy upcoming schedule starts Tuesday with three road games against division rival Boston followed by a three-game set in Houston against the Astros, one of the few teams who entered the season with shorter odds than the Blue Jays to win the World Series. Houston is currently +1000 to win the title, just behind Toronto so that series will be a good test to see how the Blue Jays stack up against another strong squad.
The series against Boston is the Blue Jays’ second against an AL East division rival after their split with the Yankees. Toronto is currently favored to win the division at odds of +145 at Caesars Sportsbook Ontario with the Red Sox trailing behind the Yankees and Rays. The Red Sox are fourth at odds of +600.
If Guerrero can continue his strong offensive start to the season and the pitching can keep improving, the Jays should be able to use this series to build upon their division lead and to further establish themselves as a World Series favorite.