The Toronto Blue Jays welcome the San Diego Padres to beautiful downtown Toronto for a three-game series. The Blue Jays and Padres never get to tangle, but they will for the next few days at the Rogers Centre. The biggest spotlight put on the Padres this season was from the All-Star Game in San Diego. That’s nice and all, but as a team, the Padres are still trying to find their way. The Padres enter with a dismal record of 43-56. For a team who were looking at taking a giant leap forward this season, they haven’t been able to do so. There were many people looking at the Padres as the Astros of this year. It certainly hasn’t been the case for them. The Blue Jays are in the midst of a tight battle in the American League East, holding a 55-44 record, yet are 3rd in the division. It’s going to be a wild finish here with nothing coming easy. The Orioles have been riding a big surge of success, putting them 1.5 games up on the Red Sox, and 3 games up on the Jays.
All three of those teams are worthy of winning the race, but considering the way the Orioles have been playing, there isn’t any room for error here for the Blue Jays and Red Sox. The Blue Jays could have pulled closer this weekend, but dropped two of three to the Mariners at home. They did, however, pick up a win yesterday to avoid the three-game sweep. Aaron Sanchez gets the nod tonight, a guy who has been a savior for the Blue Jays. With Marcus Stroman struggling mightily, it’s been imperative for the Jays to get production from someplace else. That guy has been Aaron Sanchez. The Padres will counter with right-hander Colin Rea this evening. Rea is in need of a bounce back spot after struggling in his last two times out on the mound. Find the rest of my writeup, and pick below.
San Diego Padres vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Colin Rea (5-4, 5.01 ERA) vs. Aaron Sanchez (10-1, 2.87 ERA)
Sanchez is pitching how Marcus Stroman should be pitching. There has been a bit of a role reversal here. Stroman has been having trouble trying to put things together, as his ERA has slipped to 4.90. He came back strong from an injury last season, finishing the season with a 1.67 ERA and pitching well in the postseason. However, something has been amiss for him in 2016. Conversely, Sanchez has been terrific, posting a 2.87 ERA this season, along with a 1.17 WHIP. Additionally, Sanchez has pitched for a 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in his last three outings. Note that Sanchez hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs per game since June 12th. Many of those games came against some hefty bats as well, including the Tigers, Orioles, Royals, and against the Rockies at high altitude.
Rea will have to keep up with Sanchez tonight and improve on his recent starts. He got hit for 4 runs in each of his last two starts against the Cardinals and Diamondbacks, both coming on the road. Rea hasn’t looked good on the road all season, yielding an ERA of 5.59 in 37 innings pitched, with a 1.62 WHIP and .377 OBA. I think the Blue Jays put a hurting on the Padres tonight. A play on the -1.5 looks like a solid pick for Monday night.
PICK: BLUE JAYS -1.5 (-115)