MLB Picks: Sanchez & Blue Jays To Shut Down Astros This Saturday

Aaron Sanchez

Saturday, August 13, 2016 1:56 PM GMT

Aaron Sanchez and Collin McHugh square off this afternoon, as the Blue Jays host the Houston Astros in Toronto this afternoon. Get your free MLB pick with the analysis here.

Houston Astros vs Toronto Blue Jays

Houston Astros (61-55) – Collin McHugh (7-9, 4.69 ERA)
Following a brutal 3-11 stretch, manager A.J. Hinch's men have strung together four wins in a row after taking down the Blue Jays 5-3 at Rogers Centre last night. Books aren't expecting another victory. Opening at +170 odds, if the Astros close above +160 it will be the highest number they have faced all year.

Collin McHugh is tasked with keeping the streak alive. He is 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four career starts against the Blue Jays. The current Blue Jays roster is hitting .295 against the right-hander collectively. Josh Donaldson has blasted two home runs in 11 at-bats, while veteran catcher Russell Martin in 5-for-8 lifetime with a double, home run, and two RBI.

McHugh has taken the loss in his last three outings, despite giving up just three runs in each of his last two starts. He has taken the bump at +140 odds or higher eight times in his Astros career, going 1-7 overall. He and the relief hold opponents to 3.9 runs per game when heavy dogs, but the lineup has aided the staff for only 1.9 runs per contest. The UNDER is 7-1, too.

When the Astros knock a hit, it's usually hard. Their hit-for-extra-bases percentage (38.0) ranks fourth in MLB. Houston backers will be looking for home runs in today's game. When Hinch's men smack a dinger or more as a road dog, they are 10-5 on the season; homerless, they are 1-4 under such conditions. They'll need some good luck against opposing starter Aaron Sanchez who has yielded just two overall in his last 10 starts.

Toronto Blue Jays (65-51) – Aaron Sanchez (11-2, 2.85 ERA)
The Blue Jays have won just two out of their last six games after a scorching 20-8 run put them atop the AL East a week ago. Last night's loss slipped them a half-game behind the Orioles, who snuck in a 5-3 win in San Francisco against the faltering Giants.

Skipper John Gibbons taps Sanchez for today's start. The team ace is 1-2 with a paltry 0.82 ERA in three lifetime appearances versus the Astros. Only one outing was as a starter, in which he picked up a win in a 6-2 victory last summer. Sanchez baffled Houston's lineup, gifting just one earned run on six hits in eight innings of work. As a group, the current Houston roster has recorded just 16 plate appearances, finding just four hits overall. Jason Castro owns the lone extra-base hit, a home run.

Despite Sanchez's 11-2 record, the Jays are just 5-4 as home chalk behind the right-hander this season. At almost -180 average MLB odds, fading last year's AL East winners have netted sharps 10 percent profit with the right-hander on the mound.

The UNDER is 16-6 when Sanchez takes the bump this season (23-9-1 lifetime), including the last eight games in a row. Overall, he and the relief allow 3.5 runs per game.

The Blue Jays are 14-5 at Rogers Centre when up against an opposing right-handed starter sporting a 4.00 ERA or higher. Gibbons' roster is crossing the plate 5.9 times per game on 9.5 hits. The team has covered the point spread in 11 of the 14 wins at average odds of +120, boosting profits nearly 15 percent.

Final Analysis
The front office flirted with the idea of slotting the young Sanchez into the bullpen for the remainder of the season to limit his season-long pitch count but retreated from the idea in just a matter of days. His arm is too valuable at the front-end of the rotation. He has held opponents to two runs or fewer through the first five innings in 18 of 22 starts this season. McHugh tends to pitch big with his back against the wall. We like the value in the UNDER through the first five innings as our free MLB pick for Saturday.

Free MLB Pick: Under 4.5 -109 through the first five inning
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
SBR Record YTD: 89-64-4 (avg. odds, -104); MLB YTD: 27-19-2 (avg. odds, +103)

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2993198, "sportsbooksIds":[238,93,227,19,1096], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":2 }[/]