The Toronto Blue Jays are well off the pace in the American League East, but for a night, they basked in the thrill of a big win on Wednesday night. In the bottom of the 9th, without having scored a run yet and down 2-0, Justin Smoak went deep to tie it up, 2-2. The Jays weren’t done yet, as Kendrys Morales smacked a shot to deep right for a walk-off win by a score of 3-2. The win brought them 0.5 games closer to 1st place in the American League East at 8 games back of the Boston Red Sox. It isn’t much, but they’ll have to approach this deficit with baby steps.
Despite their three-game winning streak, all against the Athletics, the Blue Jays buried a hole for themselves in the first-half of the season. Now, they’ll have to play catch-up for the next two months. If they do get hot, I think the best they’re looking at is a wildcard.
As inconsistent as they’ve shown themselves to be, a wildcard is still an unlikely scenario. In any event, it was nice to see one of their offseason acquisitions, Kendrys Morales, who was the replacement for Edwin Encarnacion, step up in a big moment.
It was quite the gut shot for the A’s, who were playing fairly decent baseball up to this trip to Toronto. They will look to avoid a sweep on Thursday, though, as their comeback bid is being diminished in Canada. There have been a lot of streaky ball players on the Blue Jays this season, but one guy who hasn’t been tripping over himself is Marcus Stroman.
Stroman is cashing in, most notably of late. Other than a few bad spots on his year, Stroman has been pitching at a high-level. The A’s will counter with lefty Sean Manaea, who by all accounts, has been pitching well in his second year in the majors. We look to build off a solid run lately and close out the rest of July strong. Get our MLB betting pick between the Athletics and Blue Jays below. Note the early start time, Thursday afternoon.
Oakland Athletics vs. Toronto Blue Jays Pick
Sean Manaea (8-5, 3.82 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (9-5, 2.98 ERA)
Since David Price departed, Stroman has been the main centerpiece in the rotation for the Blue Jays. Stroman’s face had the Jays’ future written on it, and if he continues pitching like a flamethrower, there will be others looking to nab him for a hefty price. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, Stroman posted a 4.37 ERA a year ago. Since coming into the majors, he’s been dubbed as a guy who can produce sub-3.00 numbers on a consistent basis, so show me that this season, and for another year before I’d be willing to spend money on him.
Stroman has been on fire in his last three outings, showcasing a 0.84 ERA with only 2 runs allowed. Overall, in his last five starts, he’s allowed just 4 runs. Since getting hammered against the Rangers in Texas on June 22nd, Stroman has been flawless.
He currently holds a 2.70 ERA and 1.18 WHIP at the Rogers Centre. Manaea comes into Thursday afternoon with a 3.82 ERA. In two starts against this lineup, he’s allowed a .234 BA and only 1 home run, which came against Troy Tulowitzki. Both offenses rank towards the back of the majors, the A’s in 24th and the Jays 27th. This total looks a tad too high for my liking. I like a pick on the UNDER for this matchup in Toronto.
PICK: UNDER 9 (-115)