|TOR (-104) @ pinnacle|
My 10* AL "Best of the Best" is on the Tor Blue Jays at 2:10 ET.
Toronto made back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016 but three losing seasons followed, before the Blue Jays surprised all going 32-28 in 2020. However, Toronto was eliminated by Tampa Bay 2-0 in a best-of-three series. The KC Royals made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 (lost Game 7 to the Giants) and in 2015 (beat the Mets 4-1) but entered 2021 off five straight non-winning seasons. KC lost 194 games in 2018, 103 games in 2019 and then went 26-34 in 2020 (on pace of 93 losses in a 162-game schedule).
The Blue Jays and Royals wrap up a four-game series today in KC, after splitting Saturday's doubleheader. KC won Thursday (7-5) and with victory here, can do something they haven't done in four seasons. That is, claim their first series win against the Blue Jays since 2017. In that same vein, the Royals are one of two teams in MLB (the Dodgers are the other) that has not lost a series. The Royals have won two series and split two series, with Sunday's outcome determining if they win or tie their third series of the season. The Royals are 8-5 (lead the AL Central), while the Blue jays are 7-8 in AL East, where the only team above .500 is the 10-4 Red Sox.
Sunday's starters are Robbie Ray (0-1, 3.60 ERA) and Brady Singer (0-2, 6.48 ERA). Ray has spent most of his eight-year career with the Arizona Diamondbacks before getting traded to the Blue Jays during the 2020 season. His career record is 49-52, with a 4.26 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. That includes his "15 minutes of fame" in 2017, when he went 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA. The Jays could surely use a 'flashback' season from Ray in 2021. Ray made his season debut against the Yankees on April 12, giving up two ERs in five innings. His ONLY prior appearance against the Royals was in the final game of the 2017 season (1.2 IP / 1 ER).
Singer was a rookie in 2020, making 12 starts with a 4-5 record, 4.06 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and .220 BAA. Boy would the Royals like to see those kinds of numbers in 2021. So far, that hasn't come CLOSE to happening. Singer's off to an 0-2 start and he's EARNED that record! He's lasted just 8.1 IP with a 6.48 ERA, 1.80 WHIP and .333 BAA! Let me also note that the KC bats scored 25 runs in the Royals' first two wins of 2021 but since that time, KC is 6-5 while averaging 3.3 RPG. Ray gets the nod over Singer in the starting pitcher matchup, plus Toronto owns a MLB-best bullpen ERA of 2.05. In comparison, KC's bullpen ERA is DOUBLE that at 4.10. Toronto is the bet.