The Toronto Blue Jays are on a mission that far exceeds the regular season. Following the trade deadline, the Blue Jays have claimed their stake as one of the favorites to capture the World Series. Not only did they got and get an ace, but the addition of Troy Tulowitzki beefed up their offense significantly. Other members of the Jays have responded well too, propelling Toronto to the top of the AL East. While the Blue Jays made all the right moves at the trade deadline, this has been a total team effort. This leaves the Yankees in total catch up mode, trying to figure out what has hit them this last month. They Yanks are only 1.5 games behind them, but it feels like they are back further than that. A lot can change in the next few weeks. It is certainly going to make for an interesting race for the division crown. The Blue Jays enjoy another weekend at home in Toronto, as they welcome the Baltimore Orioles to downtown at the Rogers Centre.
If the Blue Jays cannot hold on and fend off the Yankees it is going to be a difficult one to swallow. They would in all likelihood get a wildcard and have to win in a do-or-die game. That isn’t in the plans for the Jays, who are looking to bury the Orioles tonight at home. The Yankees keep wishing that the Blue Jays hit a wall, but they keep on winning, which they have to do with only a slim lead in the division. The O’s needed a strong finish in the last two months, but have been sinking lately. They were treading water for a while there; however, the Orioles are dropping off quickly. At 64-69 they have all but positioned themselves outside the playoff race. Baltimore is losers of eight out of their last ten games. They’ll try and put something together in the last month of the season in a weekend series in Toronto.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9, 4.34 ERA) vs. Drew Hutchison (13-2, 4.87 ERA)
Jimenez seen his best years in Colorado. Following his departure from the Rockies things went a bit sour. Which is odd in a sense, due to the fact that Coors Field in Denver is not the kindest park to pitchers. For Jimenez though, his career came to a halt when he went to Cleveland. He got a pretty generous contract to go to Cleveland, but it never really worked out there. Jimenez now with the Orioles, is still trying to regain his Colorado magic. What he’s done lately isn’t helping his cause much. Jimenez enters with a 7.71 ERA in his last three outings, including a 1.90 WHIP and .431 OBA. Note that two of those starts came on the road for Jimenez. He has been struggling on the road, yielding a 5.21 ERA and 1.60 WHIP compared to 3.36 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in Baltimore.
This isn’t the place you want to go if you’re struggling on the road. The Blue Jays can pile up the runs in a hurry. They’ve averaged 7.2 runs in their last ten games. That kind of production is on par since the trade deadline for the Jays. The Blue Jays are backed by Drew Hutchison on the mound tonight. It isn’t often you find a pitcher with a 13-2 record, yet possessing a 4.87 ERA. In the defense of Hutchison, he has been playing solid baseball lately, just when they need him most. Further, Hutchison has been great at home. As long as he stays in Toronto all is well. He holds a 2.46 ERA at the Rogers Centre, with a 9.00 ERA on the road. Pretty significant stuff right there. Thankfully for Hutchison, he has the luxury of pitching at home tonight. We’re going with the Jays to win, and win by a couple of runs or more. There is no time for them to relax.
PICK: BLUE JAYS -1.5 (+106)