The Toronto Blue Jays are in the thick of the AL playoff race, leading a pack of eight teams vying for a wild card berth. They conclude their series against one of those teams, the Cleveland Guardians, Sunday; however, they’ll do so without their regular shortstop, as Bo Bichette was given the day off.
It’s a curious decision to leave Bichette off the lineup against one of the teams challenging for a playoff spot; this is the fourth of seven straight series against postseason contenders.
Bichette has been an integral part of the offense this season, compiling 2.3 Offensive Wins Above Replacement, thanks in part to his 17 home runs, 64 runs batted in, and 62 runs scored.
Santiago Espinal starts at short against the Guardians and has been a formidable replacement, posting a .696 on-base plus slugging percentage with seven home runs and 41 runs batted in.
The Jays are tasked with getting to Shane Bieber, but the betting market likes their chances of doing so, installing Toronto as -154 favorites, per the line info from FanDuel Sportsbook.