MLB Betting – Red-hot Blue Jays Host A’s
Zack GarrisonNo comments
The Toronto Blue Jays (61-52, 36-21 Home) stretched their winning streak to eight games on the weekend, sweeping the Yankees in New York to pull within 1.5 games of the AL East lead. The team with the longest playoff drought in baseball will look to continue its postseason push tonight when the Oakland Athletics (51-62, 24-28 Away) come to town (7:07 PM Eastern at the Rogers Centre).
The Blue Jays turnaround coincided with some big moves at the deadline that saw Troy Tulowitzki and David Price join the squad along with speedy outfielder Ben Revere and a pair of power arms for the pen (Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins). Tulowitzki was the first domino to fall at the deadline and the Jays have yet to lose with the lanky shortstop in the starting lineup.
As it has all season, the Toronto offense has continued to pound the baseball, smashing 22 home runs and averaging 5.6 runs per game since the trade deadline. The big bats continue to lead the charge, with Edwin Encarnacion batting .394 over his past eight games and the “Bringer of Rain”, Josh Donaldson, clubbing seven homers and 15 RBIs in his last 12.
The real key to the team’s reversal of fortunes, however, has been the pitching – both starting and relief. David Price is 2-0 in his first two starts as a Jay, giving up just six hits and one run over 15 innings. Lowe and Hawkins, meanwhile, have bolstered a much-maligned bullpen; the Toronto relievers – as a whole – didn’t give up a run over nearly ten innings against the Bombers. That included 2.2 scoreless innings in Sunday’s narrow 2-0 win.
“Our confidence is pretty high and we’re all enjoying the run,” said Sunday’s starter Marco Estrada to the Associated Press.
The only bad news for Toronto coming into tonight’s game is that Drew Hutchison (10-2, 5.42 ERA) will be on the mound. “Hutch” has been the weak leak in the rotation, especially of late, even though his record is an impressive 10-2. The young righty has failed to make it past the fifth inning in his last three starts and has an ERA of 5.60 over his last seven. He has been much better at home than on the road, though, with a 2.69 ERA at the Rogers Centre versus a 9.00 ERA elsewhere.
Tonight, Hutchison and the Jays will be facing an Athletics team on a modest three-game win streak of its own. The team is still bringing up the rear in the AL West, but just took three straight from division-leading Houston. Former Blue Jay Danny Valencia was the hero on Sunday, picking up the game-winning RBI on a single in the bottom of the ninth to edge the ‘Stros 5-4.
The A’s will send another former Blue Jay – well, former Blue Jay prospect – Kendall Graveman (6-7, 3.90 ERA) to the hill tonight. Graveman was part of the package that saw Donaldson move to Toronto in the offseason. The rookie has shown promise this year, but struggled of late; he hasn’t won since July 7, posting an 0-3 record in his last five starts. The last time Graveman took the mound, he allowed six hits and three runs during a 7-3 setback to the Baltimore Orioles, though he left with a no-decision.
Though Hutchison is a cause for concern, let’s roll with the red-hot Jays and see how long they can stretch their winning streak.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays (-200).