It’s actually been quite a while since Ive dished out some free MLB picks. My workload was massive last week and maddening connection issues at the home office have bitten me since, so it’s certainly been a frustrating time of late.
That said, it hasn’t been a frustrating MLB season in the least so far as I carry plenty of profits into my lone Free MLB Pick tonight featuring the Blue Jays vs. Orioles from Camden Yards in Baltimore!
Season Record: 14-6
Blue Jays vs. Orioles Betting Odds
- Blue Jays (-133)
- Orioles (+119)
- Blue Jays -1.5 (+115)
- Orioles +1.5 (-135)
- Over 10 (-105)
- Under 10 (-115)
Blue Jays vs. Orioles MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: TOR – Pearson (0-0, 5.11 ERA/5.63 FIP) vs. BAL – LeBlanc (1-0, 7.13 ERA/5.95 FIP)
Blue Jays top prospect Nate Pearson makes his fourth career big-league start tonight in search of a big improvement from his last couple of outings.
Pearson was knocked around for five hits and four walks while allowing seven runs (four earned) with just one strikeout against the Marlins his last time out. Add in his previous start against the hot-hitting Braves and Pearson has allowed 10 runs (seven earned) over his last 7.1 frames with seven walks against six strikeouts in that time.
Armed with a fastball that gets at or above 100 mph, Pearson hasn’t been able to generate a ton of success on the offering at this level quite yet with a -0.29 pitch value/100 on the four-seamer while his slider has fared better for a pitcher that used those two pitches on a combined 88.6% of his offerings so far.
Last season, Pearson worked to a 3.00 ERA in his 18 innings of Triple-A work after cruising through the Double-A level with a 2.59 ERA, 2.90 FIP and 9.91 K/9 across 62.2 frames of work.
LeBlanc hasn’t thrown enough innings to be a qualified pitcher despite making four starts, but if he were, he would own the second-worst ERA in baseball at 7.13.
Furthermore, none of his peripheral numbers point to much improvement moving forward. The veteran owns a 5.95 FIP, 5.58 xFIP and a 5.50 SIERA while fooling nobody with a tiny 5.09 K/9 rate. His command is fine at 2.55 BB/9, but he’s also posted a 2.04 HR/9 on the season after working to a 2.08 mark a season ago.
Each of his last two outings have been limited to 3.1 innings pitched while he’s allowed 13 hits and nine earned runs over those 6.2 innings. He’s never been a ground-ball pitcher with a career 37.1% ground-ball rate, but his 36.5% mark this season is getting him hurt given his 42.2% hard contact rate allowed.
He may be on his last straw for an Orioles team that’s been surprisingly competitive this season – a 60-game season with an expanded postseason.
The Blue Jays have had their offensive ups and downs this season, but started this series off on the right note with seven runs in last night’s win.
They haven’t hit left-handed pitching particularly well this season with a 19th-ranked .312 wOBA against them while the power hasn’t exactly been there either with a 28th-ranked .126 ISO on the season.
That said, they are set to stack some right-handed bats against the lefty LeBlanc in this one and he has struggled mightily in allowing a .550 SLG to right-handed hitters this season.
Of their nine projected starters in this one, all but one bat right-handed. The lone exception should be leadoff hitter Cavan Biggio who hit lefties for a rock-solid 104 wRC+ a season ago.
While there’s been many surprising aspects to this Orioles club in 2020, the offense certainly has to be one.
Largely expected to struggle as they did a season ago, the Orioles have posted an 11th-ranked .324 wOBA on the season versus right-handed pitching while striking out in just 21.7% of their plate appearance against righties, good for the eighth-best mark in baseball.
Names such as Renato Nunez, Chance Sisco, Pedro Severino, Jose Iglesias and Anthony Santander have raked right-handed pitching this season while Nunez paces the team with a .416 wOBA and .992 OPS against right-handed pitching.
Most of that damage has come on the back of some inflated BABIP figures, but for now the Orioles have certainly surprised at the plate this season.
The Blue Jays bullpen lost closer Ken Giles early in the season, but have hung in there quite well by posting a 3.47 ERA/3.66 FIP with a 10.30 K/9 on the season.
Relative unknown up and down the bullpen, names such as A.J. Cole, Jordan Romano, Ryan Borucki and new closer Anthony Bass have been especially productive while Cole and Borucki have combined for zero earned runs allowed in 16 innings of work.
Save for their 4.83 BB/9 clip, the Blue Jays’ bullpen numbers are fantastic for a club that lost their go-to reliever right from the get-go.
Like their offense, the Orioles’ bullpen has been a pleasant surprise as well.
Coming off a league-worst ERA last season, the Orioles enter this one ranked 15th with a 4.38 bullpen ERA, but also 10th with a 3.68 FIP and 4.11 xFIP. In addition, their 0.84 HR/9 rate is in a three-way tie for the fourth-best mark in baseball.
Cole Sulser is the new closer in town with a 4.35 ERA/3.89 FIP on the season, but more unknowns in Travis Lakins, Tanner Scott and veteran Mychal Givens have been doing yeoman’s work as well.
Yet another key improvement to this Orioles team this season.
Blue Jays vs. Orioles MLB Pick
To me, the bullpens appear to cancel each other out as both have been real good this season and there’s not much of a reason to suggest that should change tonight.
The Orioles have been the better offense, however that could very well change due to a starting pitching matchup that heavily favors the Jays in this one.
Pearson will certainly need to be better than he was his last time out, but few pitchers in the league this season have been worse than LeBlanc. The Blue Jays are simply set to stack right-handed power bats against the southpaw and look to do more damage tonight in a hitter-friendly park.
At the end of the day, I am expecting LeBlanc to get rocked again, perhaps for the final time in an Orioles uniform.