The Toronto Blue Jays are on a mission, and the Minnesota Twins are playing like they’re on vacation. The Jays will go for the sweep this afternoon against the Twins, who have now dropped eight games in a row. It wasn’t without effort yesterday, as they came up a run short in a 8-7 loss to the Blue Jays. The Jays put up 15 runs for a 15-8 of the Twins the day prior, so it was an improvement for the pitching staff. Quite simply, the Twins’ pitching has been gassed in August. They haven’t been held up by a string all season long and I think that string has been cut. The Twins are 49-81, which ranks second last in the league, only besting the Atlanta Braves. The only thing left to be decided for the Twins is whether they or the Blue Jays will finish last.
Conversely, the Blue Jays are playing for a little more here. They are in a heated battle with the Boston Red Sox who won yesterday as well. There hasn’t been an inch given for the last several months, and with approximately a month left in the regular season, I anticipate this playing out all the way until the end. It’s the same story pretty well every day, with the Red Sox and Blue Jays battling it out for the stop spot.
The Orioles were right there too, but have regressed to three back. At this point, three games looks like a lot to overcome in this division. Heck, a 2 game lead would look like a milestone. The Twins don’t have to worry about any of that, as they’ll be on vacation rather soon. Let’s find a winner for Sunday, after the Detroit Tigers completely botched an opportunity to move up a game on the Indians yesterday. The home plate umping was extremely inept, leading to several Tigers getting tossed out of the game. The Indians and Tigers both lost, so everything remains the same in the American League Central.
Minnesota Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Kyle Gibson (5-8, 5.09 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (9-13, 4.43 ERA)
The problem with the Twins is their inept pitching staff, from the starting rotation to the bullpen. The Twins are 29th in the majors in pitching, posting a 5.06 ERA overall as a team. The Blue Jays are all the way up in 5th, with a 3.79 ERA. However, it hasn’t been because R.A. Dickey is having himself a great season. But I think we pretty well have to accept Dickey for what he is now, which is an average pitcher that isn’t going to see his prime again. Dickey hasn’t been able to match his production with the Jays, as he did as a member of the Mets.
In his last season with the Mets, Dickey posted a 2.73 ERA, which immediately dropped off to 4.21 in the American League. Dickey is a guy the Mets aren’t feeling bad about departing ways with, they’ve had a stacked rotation for the last couple of years. Letting Michael Fulmer go is a different story, though.
Kyle Gibson will answer the call against Dickey, who has been really nothing but a rotation stuffer. I suppose you could say that for much of the Twins except for Ervin Santana who is wasting away his remaining years with this team. Gibson was pretty adequate a year ago, his best season in the majors with a 3.84 ERA after a 4.47 ERA in 2014 and 6.53 in 2013. The Twins have been getting roasted by offenses, especially of late. They’ve given up 40 runs in the last five games, with an average of 8 runs allowed per game. The OVER has gone 5-1 in their last six games and they haven’t even had to contribute much, it’s been all on the pitching. I don’t see any reason why the Blue Jays don’t bomb the Twins again for another healthy dose of runs on the board. The OVER looks like an attractive option.
PICK: OVER 9.5 RUNS (-110)