The Toronto Blue Jays tied a franchise record for consecutive wins yesterday, notching their eleventh straight victory and finishing off a sweep of the struggling Red Sox. The remarkable run has take then Jays from last place to just a game behind the Rays and Yankees for the AL East lead, with nothing in sight to slow them down.
And as remarkable as the Blue Jays have been, they were far from the most impressive thing in baseball yesterday. That distinction would belong to Max Scherzer who turned in one of the most dominant performances in recent MLB history with his one-hit, 16-strikeout complete game shutout that was a mere bloop single away from being one of the four or five best pitched games in MLB history. Max is finally settling into the role as Ace of the Nats staff, and that is really bad news for the rest of the National League. The Nats have still be hot and cold and aside from their one nice run, basically a .500 team at best. It will be interesting to see if a hot starting pitcher like Scherzer can jump start them and finally get them to a comfortable lead in the NL East.
We got smoked by the baseball gods yet again yesterday with the second bizarre, metric-defying result in the Astros and Mariners series. The Astros scored more runs in the two games we dropped on the UNDER than they had in their previous 14 games combined. Yup. And they did it off a Cy Young candidate and a guy who had not allowed the game total to go OVER a single time in 2015. Them’s the breaks, so let’s see if we can get back on track with a new week and a new slate of matchups.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Toronto Blue Jays -101 vs. New York Mets -109 (Total: 7.5)
Mark Buehrle (7-4, 4.25 ERA) vs. Noah Syndergaard (2-4, 4.15 ERA)
The Jays are the hottest team in baseball and will attempt to set a new franchise mark for consecutive wins tonight in New York. One of the reasons for their success is their proficiency at the plate. In a year where so many teams are struggling to score runs, the Jays are piling them on at an insane pace. They are averaging almost six runs a game and are homering 1.2 times per contest. It will be a challenge for Syndergaard to keep this deep lineup in the park. In their last ten games they have tallied 81 runs (8.1 per contest).
Meanwhile, Toronto will send Mark Buehrle to the mound looking for his eighth win despite some pretty pedestrian numbers. His WHIP of 1.33 and ERA of 4.25 would be a bit of a concern if he wasn’t getting 6.7 runs of support on average. However, his recent performances suggest he still has some gas left in his veteran tank, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA. If he can keep the Mets in that range, it’s hard to see his offense not coming through for him yet again. The Jays have failed to score five or more runs only ONCE in their last ten games (and scored 4 in that game).
It’s hard to go against the mojo the Jays have cooking right now. It’s going to take a big time pitching performance to slow down this offense, and I’m not sure Syndergaard is the guy to do it – he has great stuff, but it hasn’t quite come together for the youngster yet this season. His WHIP of 1.55 in his last three starts isn’t a good sign prior to a matchup against a red-hot team that can mash.