The Blue Jays’ lineup didn’t get the memo last night that they have already wrapped up the AL East. Despite locking the division down, the Blue Jays went out and blasted the Rays for a 8-4 decision. I like teams that look ready to go for the postseason, and the Jays have all the makings of a team confident and ready to roll come next week. They have the talent and the confidence to go deep into the playoffs. In other good news for the Blue Jays, Troy Tulowitzki is back just in time for the postseason to begin. More than any Blue Jay, this should be a nice stretch for Tulo to get back and shake off some of the rust. It’s pretty clear to me that nobody else on the Blue Jays need these remaining few games. They are ready to go.
Everyone wants to talk about the Blue Jays’ offensive prowess, and the way David Price has come to Toronto to give the Jays a legitimate ace in their stable. However, there is one name that should really be getting some press. That guy is Marco Estrada. Blue Jays’ fans know him well, but the rest aren’t too familiar with him. Actually, most people aren’t even familiar with this Blue Jays team period, if you don’t follow baseball that is. Instead ESPN and the other national outlets choose to shove the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and so forth down our throats without even giving the Blue Jays much face time. The best team doesn’t always win the World Series, but the way I see it the Jays are the top team in baseball right now. They should be getting the respect they deserve. As a final note, their fan base is one of the best as well, this coming from a Tigers’ fan. Moving on to my pick for Saturday on the diamond.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.15 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (12-13, 3.26)
I don’t know if the Blue Jays know when to slow down. They don’t care what the circumstance is, they just step in the batters’ box and look to do damage. And damage is what they have been doing to opposing hitters. Add another 8 runs to the resume of the top offense in the major leagues after last night. They face a pretty good pre-postseason test against Chris Archer today. Although, I will say, Archer hasn’t been as good lately as I remember him being. He posts a whopping 7.36 ERA in his last three starts, giving up 9 runs in his last start, to you guessed it, the Toronto Blue Jays. Archer surrendered 9 runs in only 3.2 innings of work, as well as 10 hits. It was the fourth game in his last ten starts that he has allowed 4 or more runs. Not very Archer like. But when you’re playing for a team like the Rays with nothing to play for, and it is September, your motivation may begin to wane a bit.
Note that Archer stated publicly that he is pitching at 80-90 percent and feeling quite fatigued. In other words, Archer is probably more in the 70 percent range. On the other side, Estrada can double his previous top win total with a win today. He has been pitching well enough to do it. In his last three starts he threw a 2.05 ERA along with a 0.86 WHIP. Estrada has been steady and consistent for the Jays. He has absolutely baffled the Rays this season. Estrada hasn’t allowed 1 run to the Rays in 19 innings pitched Hits wise he has given up only 6 hits in total. The price in this game should be flipped around, with the Jays at -110. They’re going to want to look crisp heading in their first postseason in over a decade. A nice value pick with the Blue Jays today.
PICK: BLUE JAYS TO WIN +102