The Boston Red Sox delivered a kill shot on the Blue Jays yesterday, blasting them for a 7-1 decision. The Red Sox got a superb performance out of Rick Porcello, while J.A. Happ was pitching well until the floodgates opened and the Red Sox got to attack the bullpen. I think it was the final blow on the Blue Jays chances at reaching the postseason. It already felt dead, but this was the final nail in the coffin.
The Jays slip to 61-72 and 8.5 games out of the wildcard picture. They’ll try and find some energy in Baltimore, as they take on an Orioles team who is on the cusp of a wildcard. Much bigger affair for the O’s than the Blue Jays. In any event, every start for Marco Estrada from here on out is a big game. Estrada has slipped off the map considerably and must show some signs of life.
The Orioles are on the cusp of the postseason, while the Jays are on the cusp of a rebuilding period. Signing Jose Bautista to a one-year deal has been a bad investment, and with only one guy I can trust in the starting rotation, there is work to be done for management. Bautista’s batting average has fell all the way to .207, in danger of finishing below .200 if he doesn’t get something going. A waste of money? You can say that again.
Does Baltimore deserve to be in the play-in game? Probably not. A 68-65 team doesn’t deserve to have a shot at the postseason. It’s such a stark contrast if you look at the NHL where you need a very good record to make the playoffs. All it can take it one hot streak to win a World Series, though.
Right now the Orioles are hot, winning seven straight games with sweeps over the Mariners and Red Sox. If you look at that sample, yeah, they deserve the postseason. We’ll see if the Orioles are up to the task, as they currently need to catch the Minnesota Twins and fend off others. Let’s find a winning pick on Thursday. Head below for our free Blue Jays vs. Orioles pick.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles Pick
Marco Estrada (6-8, 5.04 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (8-7, 4.88 ERA)
Estrada has a nice opportunity here to show something against a hot offense. He enters with an ERA of 5.04 with a 1.43 WHIP. This is a dip from the 3.13 ERA and 3.48 ERA he posted the last two years. He blanked the Yankees on the 10th, and just when it looked like he was going to turn a corner he regressed again. In his last three outings he’s produced an ERA of 6.61 with a .355 OBA. The Oriole bats have been warming up, scoring an average of 7.5 runs over their last seven games.
If Estrada has anything going for him here is that the Orioles cannot hit him. In fact, the Orioles are hitting just .189 against Estrada in 222 at-bats. If there is any team he should be happy to see, it should be the Orioles. And if there is one pitcher Bautista wants to see, it’s Jeremy Hellickson. Bautista owns a .364 BA and 3 deep balls in 33 at-bats. Hellickson has been struggling as well, entering tonight with an ERA of 8.10 in his last three starts, allowing 14 earned runs in those outings. The Jays are down and out, but I think they catch the Orioles napping on Thursday.
PICK: BLUE JAYS (+115)