The Toronto Blue Jays are doing their best to erase their struggles early this season. They’re clawing back and are 21-26, within striking distance of .500 and putting their disastrous start behind them. For the Blue Jays, good thing the MLB season is a long winding road of emotions.
A slow start out of the gates can sometimes have no bearing on what transpires in September and October. If you were to look at reactions of a lot of fans in April and May though, you’d think that the season is ending in a week or two. It’s not football, where a bad stretch can have dire consequences. A marathon, not a sprint.
The Jays fell and rose with the play of Jose Bautista. He started off ice cold, and so did the entire team. When he started to get it going, the team responded and they’re getting back on track. They have won three in a row, including a 8-4 win over the Brewers with a grand slam delivered by Ryan Goins to boot. Bautista went deep as well, bringing his total on the season to 8. He’s brought his BA up to .241 after he was flirting below .200. If he keeps it up, which I believe he will, the Blue Jays should have no major issues traversing the rest of the season.
While Bautista has been heating up, there are others in the Jays’ lineup that deserve a little recognition. In particular, Kevin Pillar is having the best year of his career. He’s already topped 7 long balls, which ties his total from a year ago. Pillar had a career-high 12 home runs in 2015, which he is well on his way to breaking.
Justin Smoak also has been getting in on some fun. He’s mashed 10 dingers to already put him halfway to his career-high, which he achieved in 2013 with the Mariners. The Jays face the Rangers this weekend for a rivalry series at the Rogers Centre. Need I remind you of these two teams? Get our free Rangers vs. Blue Jays pick below.
Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays Pick
A.J. Griffin (4-1, 5.02 ERA) vs. Mike Bolsinger (0-2, 6.32 ERA)
I guess the rivalry between the Rangers and Blue Jays started with the infamous Jose Bautista bat-toss. The most memorable incident, though, was when Bautista and Rougned Odor got into it, with Odor connecting with a punch directly to Bautista’s face. It was the shot heard around the majors, as plenty of people applauded Odor. The Blue Jays made it further last season, but at the end of the day they came up with nothing to show for it.
Mike Bolsinger will get the call on the bump today, who has been shaky at best. He enters with an ERA of 6.32 in his only three starts of the year. The Blue Jays have a forced hand here, and have to look to Bolsinger and hope for the best. He was fine in the opener, but has allowed 9 runs in his last two outings. His OBA is putrid, with a posted number of .408. It’s not any better than his time with the Dodgers last season, where he yielded a 6.83 ERA in six starts.
A.J. Griffin counters for the Rangers, who brings in a 5.02 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched. In his last three outings, he posted a 6.75 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, including getting torched for 9 runs against the Tigers in his last start. Griffin is coming off a 2016 where he pitched a 5.07 ERA in 23 starts. I think there is a high probability we see the production of some runs on the board. The OVER has gone 4-0-1 in their last five meetings with an average of 11.2 runs scored. I can see it happening again today in Toronto.
PICK: OVER 9.5 (-110)