I usually don’t comment too much about the night before, but my goodness, that was an agonizing loss. Chances galore late to add some more runs on the scoreboard, but whenever runners were in scoring position, it was as close as both teams came to tacking on more. It’s just a blip on the radar over the course of the summer and fall, so it’s on to the next one.
The next one in this case is in Toronto, where the Astros are making an impact in 2017. At this point, the Astros are just hoping that they don’t run into a wall in the second-half, especially around September. It’s happened before to teams, and I don’t think the Astros are immune to something like that from happening.
The Blue Jays may have won the last two days over the Yankees, but it’s been anything but a time to get excited for them. Prior to those two wins, the Jays lost five straight games and went 1-6 in their last seven. They started the year cool, mellowed out, and now are playing pretty poor baseball again.
Something just feels amiss here, like the air has been let out the room. Jose Bautista has been trying to bolster his chances of catching one last sizable contract, but his play begs to differ. Also, fellow slugger Josh Donaldson has been battling injuries, and has tailed off from his contributions in 2016.
Trade rumors have been swirling around Toronto, with both Bautista and Donaldson being mentioned. The fact of the matter is that both are trending downward, but could be valuable to a legitimate contender for a couple of years. I’m sorry to say, but the Blue Jays are not legitimate contenders anymore. That opportunity evaporated last season. It was quite the run for them, however, the writing is on the wall for them. For the Astros, their dream is just beginning. Head below for our free Astros vs. Blue Jays pick.
Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays Pick
Lance McCullers Jr. (7-1, 2.69 ERA) vs. Francisco Liriano (4-4, 5.66 ERA)
Pitching has been a question mark for the Blue Jays, and hitting has been spotty. For Francisco Liriano, the entire season has been spotty. Liriano comes in with an ERA of 5.66, including a 1.61 WHIP and .360 OBA. He’s had a couple of bad starts lately, starting against the Rangers where he allowed 5 runs in Texas. And then against the Red Sox in his last start, Liriano was dinged for another 5 runs. In his second start as a Blue Jay last season he faced the Astros. It didn’t go so well, as he allowed 8 hits and 5 runs across 5.2 innings.
While Liriano hasn’t been helping the Blue Jays much, Lance McCullers Jr. has been a reason for why the Astros are enjoying success in 2017. McCullers is having a breakout campaign, posting a 2.69 ERA and 1.07 WHIP up to this point. He went through a stretch this season where he allowed 0 runs in four straight outings for a total of 24 innings. Additionally, McCullers hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs since April.
The ‘Stros are 1st in runs scored, and have been swinging it well lately with an average of 11.33 runs per game in their last three games. The offense has actually been performing better away as well, with 6.92 runs per game compared to 4.73 at home. The Jays are back in 26th, with an average of 4.15 runs per game. I like the Astros to win here and win relatively easily.
PICK: ASTROS -1.5 (+105)