Blue Jays vs. Rays Pick MLB – April 13th

It’s the first week of the season, and it’s a little early to get too excited… but holy cow have you seen the two teams at the top of the AL Central. Remember all those trendy folks who were picking the Indians to win the World Series (including Sports Illustrated) or the White Sox to make a move? It may just be that things haven’t changed as much as people thought as the Tigers and Royals have been the class of baseball through the first week.

Granted, both teams had the fortune of playing the Twins and the White Sox respectively, but the recent sweeps over the Indians and Angels – two projected contenders, are impressive. And it isn’t just starting 6-0, it’s the manner in which each team is winning. Detroit has outscored their opponents 47-16. The Royals are a nearly as jaw-dropping +25 at 40-15. Can they keep up this dominant pace? Of course not. But are both teams still legit contenders to win a World Series? It certainly appears so through the first week.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Tampa Bay Rays +126 at Toronto Blue Jays -131 (Total: 7.5) (line on 5Dimes – much lower than other places)

Jake Odorizzi (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (0-0, 1.42 ERA)

Odorizzi was dominant in his first start of the season, allowing just two baserunners in six and two third shutout innings.   He will have his work cut out for him tonight against a prolific Jays lineup that is averaging over 6 runs per game on the young season and nearly 7 against right-handed pitching.

R.A. Dickey was also good in his first start, a good sign for a Jays staff that will need him to be a big contributor if they are going to sneak into the race for the AL East title. The Rays offense has been better than expected so far this season, averaging 4.67 runs/9 innings in their first week of action, but I’d expect that number to begin regressing to the norm starting with tonight.

Odorizzi has been pretty good at home, but has struggled away from the Trop. The Rays are just 5-11 in his last 16 road starts. The Rays may make a little summer surge once they get their incredible pile of injured players, especially starting pitchers, back from the DL. But in the meantime, it may be asking a bit much of Odorizzi to be a #1/#2 caliber starter. Alex Cobb and Matt Moore will hopefully be there soon, but in the meantime, the Rays should be thrilled with a 3-3 start. I think April is going to get much, much rougher, starting with these three in Toronto.

Free Pick: Toronto Blue Jays to WIN -131