Royals vs. Blue Jays Pick MLB – July 31st

The trade carousel is heating up as the final deals come down to the wire. Today is the final day to make non-waiver moves and there are still some big names floating about. The biggest rumors now are talks between the Reds and Mets for Jay Bruce and Wheeler, as well as rumors that a few teams, including Arizona (why?) have called about Aroldis Chapman.

The Padres also have a bevy of talent available, but nothing concrete has yet to materialize. I am going to do my best to pick a game tonight that doesn’t have any potential moving pieces involved, but it’ll be difficult with so many chips yet to land in their eventual resting places.

Meanwhile, a late three run jack by Adam Rizzo gave us another win last night, and the two run ninth padded the total to 5-2 Cubbies, for those of you who went big and grabbed the +130 runline. Both were winning plays and we will look to start the weekend off in grand fashion with another winner tonight.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays (Total: 8)

Johnny Cueto (7-6, 2.62 ERA) vs. Drew Hutchinson (9-2, 5.42 ERA)

Yet another example of why a pitcher’s won/loss record is slightly irrelevant. Johnny Cueto enters with a near .500 record opposed to Hutchinson’s Cy Young-worthy 9-2. Only problem? Cueto’s ERA is nearly THREE full runs lower. How in the world does a guy with an ERA in the mid-fives have a 9-2 record? Because he pitches for the ridiculously mashing Toronto Blue Jays.

I’m not just placating Kevin on this one – the Blue Jays may be the sneakiest best team in baseball right now with the addition of Price. Consider their ridiculous run differential.   They are +103, which is easily the best in the American League and trails only the Cardinals +106 in all of MLB.   With a run differential like that, they should be cruising towards home field in the playoffs, not muddling for a playoff spot. The Cardinals are a whopping 13 ½ games better than Toronto right now.

My point is simply that by just about any metric, the Jays are legit and I expect their stats to start a regression towards the expected; a ton of wins.

But can they keep it up against a top-tier pitcher in Cueto? Well, the Jays average nearly six runs a game at home this season, so it is a REALLY tough place to make your debut with a new team. I think Johnny will be good, but not quite good enough. I like Toronto to get a few runs off Johnny Beisbol. But I also like the Royals to get plenty off Hutchinson as well.

It’s not often you see a total of eight with Cueto on the mound, but it also not often you see a Toronto home game at eight either. I’m going to go with some nerves for Cueto and some runs for the Jays pushing this total OVER tonight.

Free Pick: Run TOTAL OVER 8