Don’t look now, but the Seattle Mariners might just be really good this year. We picked up the win last night when we backed Seattle at home against the Oakland Athletics. The game was basically even money, and I loved getting King Felix at home at that price. We all know that Hernandez isn’t the dominating guy that he used to be, but at home, he still is something special. Coming into this start, Hernandez had an ERA of just 1.54 at Safeco Field. So, I jumped on the Mariners and felt good about my side of the bet.
Felix got touched up by Jed Lowrie in the first inning when Lowrie hit a solo shot home run. But after that, Hernandez really settled down and didn’t give up a run until the seventh inning. And even then, he left the game with just the lone run on the board and only got charged with both runners he left on base when reliever Nick Vincent, failed to clean up the mess he made to start the seventh. The name Felix Hernandez certainly doesn’t invoke the fear it once did, but if you can get him at home at anywhere close to even money that is too much value to pass up on. Today we will look at the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in Minnesota Wednesday for game three of a three-game series, looking for the sweep. The Jays won last night in come from behind fashion. After falling down 2-0 early, Toronto managed to tie things up in the eighth inning to push the game to extra frames. The Jays then exploded in the top of the tenth for three runs and took a two games to none lead in the series. The Twins have fallen on hard times and have now lost eleven of their last twelve games.
Starting tonight for Toronto is Marcus Stroman (0-3 8.88 ERA), and for the Twins, it is Fernando Romero (0-0 0.00 ERA). The Blue Jays are small -115 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 AM PST on getaway day from Target Field in Minneapolis.
The American League East is really good this year. The Boston Red Sox have the best record in the major leagues, and the New York Yankees aren’t far behind. The division is very top heavy, and there really isn’t a lot of room for a third team to prosper. But that hasn’t stopped the Toronto Blue Jays from trying. Toronto is hanging right there with the big boys at 17-12, and their bats are swinging hot to start the season.
The Blue Jays are third in all of baseball in runs scored, and they lead everyone in home runs. Yet they are just twenty-fourth in the land in batting average. So, it is boom, or bust, so far this season in Toronto. They will need a lot of boom today as starter Marcus Stroman has gotten off to an awful start this year.
Stroman finished in eighth place last year for the American League Cy Young Award. He won thirteen games and had an ERA of just 3.09. The young right-hander has ace-level stuff and last year established himself as one of the best starters in the AL. But wait. This season Stroman has been absolutely terrible. In his five starts on the season, he is 0-3 with an ERA of 8.88. This was hard to see coming as he came into the season fully healthy and was expected to be the ace of this squad this year.
The issues with Stroman appear to be with his command. Stroman has walked fifteen batters in just twenty-five innings this year. His walks per nine innings sits at 5.3, that is more than double his career average of 2.5. I always try and look at the long-term rather than the short term, and long-term Stroman is a solid arm with a career ERA hovering right around three and a half runs. Once he is able to find the strike zone this season, he should be able to get back on track.
Starting tonight for the Twins is Fernando Romero. Romero is one of the top prospects in baseball and will be making his MLB debut today. Romero is the Twins number two prospect and the number sixty-six in all of baseball. It feels like they brought up Romero more to plug the hole that Phil Hughes was digging in the rotation, rather than him really being fully ready to pitch on the big-league level. It is going to be a rough landing spot for Romero having to face the top home run hitting team in the league in his first ever start.
Let’s ignore what Marcus Stroman has done so far this year. It has been horrific, but for the sake of argument, let’s look past it. If I would have told you coming into the season, just over a month ago, that you could get Marcus Stroman at basically even money against a team that was ranked twenty-seventh in the majors in runs scored and had a rookie pitcher making his MLB debut you would have laughed at me. But that is where we stand tonight.
I know Stroman has struggled, but I refuse to admit he has just lost it. And if there were ever a great time for him to turn things around it would be against a team that can’t score runs and has lost eleven out of their last twelve games. I think Stroman finds the strike zone today and would be shocked if Romero didn’t get blasted by this slugging Blue Jays offense.
Give me the Toronto Blue Jays for the sweep today on the road at -115!