Toronto Blue Jays (-120) at Houston Astros (+110, 8 o/u)
The AL Wild Card race figures to be brutal down the stretch, and if the Houston Astros (56-51, 33-23 Home) want to put themselves in a position to sneak in, they can’t cough up another home game to the Toronto Blue Jays (61-47, 29-23 Away). The ‘Stros will send Mike Fiers to the mound to try and salvage a split of their four-game series tonight, at Minute Maid Park (8:10 PM Eastern).
With the Jays boasting the AL’s second-best offense, and a pair of MVP candidates going head-to-head in Josh Donaldson and Jose Altuve, you may have thought this series would have some high run totals. You would have been incorrect. The Astros edged out a 2-1 walk-off win after 14 innings on Monday, before the Jays responded with 2-1 and 3-1 wins the following nights.
Toronto’s entire offense this series has come courtesy the long ball, scoring six runs on six solo-shots. It’s a bad sign for a Jays team that is normally pretty good at getting on base (currently fourth in the AL in on-base percentage). But whether it’s the lights in the stadium or Houston pitchers are just throwing good stuff, the Jays have struck out 50 times over the last three games!
That should be welcome news for Fiers, who has had a roller coaster season so far. The righty has a 4.42 ERA and a 7-4 record, registering a quality start in just nine of his 19 outings. However, he hasn’t lost a decision at home since May 21.
The Jays will counter with lefty J.A. Happ, who is searching for his 15th win on the year. Boasting a 3.16 ERA on the season, Happ hasn’t dropped a decision since June 6, getting the win in eight of his last nine starts. As if that weren’t terrifying enough, the Astros are the worst hitting team in the American League vs. lefties.
Three games back of the second Wild Card, Houston can’t afford to be giving up games to teams ahead of them, but the numbers look to favor the Jays tonight. One thing is for certain, given how this series has gone, I’ll be shocked by a sudden scoring output.
Pick: Jays (-120) and UNDER.
(Photo credit: Arturo Pardavila III (Originally uploaded to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/])
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