The Toronto Blue Jays welcome a dangerous opponent to Toronto on Thursday. Well, dangerous in the sense that the LA Angels have nothing to lose at this point, because the Angels have failed to live up as an actual dangerous team. The Blue Jays are of course in the midst of a battle for the American League East title with the Orioles and Red Sox. The Jays are currently tied with the Red Sox at 71-55. The Red Sox lost last night thanks to a botched play by the infield. Evan Longoria showed up once again, and belted a solo shot to tie it up in the bottom of the 8th inning. From there, the Red Sox couldn’t do anything right, and the Rays were able to take advantage of a mishap. Ultimately, the outcome gives a big lift to the Blue Jays, who remain tied with them instead of being down by a game. A team with nothing to play for can sneak up on you sometimes. The Blue Jays do not want to find out the hard way.
These are the kind of games that decide the end of the season. You look back at a few losses here and there, and think that those are games we should have won. This is one of those games for the Blue Jays. Toronto blasted the Angels on Tuesday, and then LA returned the favor last night, with a 8-2 blowout. It would be an opportunity blown, if the Jays fail to take two of three from the lackluster Angels. The Blue Jays will have the unlikely hero of their season on the mound this evening, J.A. Happ. Happ has been having a career season, better than anybody could have expected, and better than what the Blue Jays envisioned when they signed him in the offseason. Let’s look for a winner tonight, on what has been a pretty successful month.
L.A. Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Jered Weaver (8-11, 5.47 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (17-3, 3.05 ERA)
There used to be a day when Jered Weaver made opposing hitters a little nervous when they saw him. However, all of that has turned to joy for hitters, as they’ve been able to get to him pretty easily in 2016. Who knows how much Weaver has left in the gas tank, with his numbers falling off in each of the last three seasons. Weaver has hit above a 5.00 ERA for the first time in his eleven year career, and lately, he hasn’t shown any ability to turn the clocks back. In his last three starts, Weaver has gotten rocked for a 8.40 ERA, 2.13 WHIP, and .451 OBA. He also allowed 10 hits in each of his last two starts, without getting out of the 5th inning.
On the other hand, it’s been nothing but sunshine and rainbows for J.A. Happ. Happ is pitching beyond his expectations, heading into tonight with an ERA of 3.05 and a solid 1.14 WHIP. There is one small problem for Happ in this matchup, though. He has been ripped by the Angels, yet to win a game against them. In four starts, Happ has posted a 8.00 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. The number just seems too steep for my on the Jays. It’s hard for me to play that or -1.5 on a guy who has shown nothing against the Angels. Weaver doesn’t instill any confidence in me here. I think there should be some runs in the ball game, enough anyway to hit OVER 9.5.
PICK: OVER 9.5 RUNS (-110)