Pitching Battle Favors Indians In Clash With Blue Jays' Bats

Trevor Bauer

Friday, August 19, 2016 5:52 PM GMT

Tonight, Toronto travels to Cleveland for the first of a 3-game weekend series. Blue Jays’ starter, Liriano, faces off with Indians’ starter, Bauer. Here's my exclusive MLB Pick for this game.

Toronto Blue Jays (Liriano) vs Cleveland Indians (Bauer) (-121)
The Blue Jays had Thursday off, after taking 2 of 3 from the Yankees to begin the week, including the last 2 by combined scores of 19-10. Cleveland concludes their 11-game home stand, after their early week, 3-game set in which they took 2 of 3 from the White Sox. Each of these teams is locked in a race for division supremacy. In this matchup, I favor Bauer over Liriano and the strong home field of the Cleveland Indians.

Following a 19-23 start, Toronto has met preseason expectations with a 50-29 record. The bats have begun to boom as expected, while the pitching has been more than adequate. After last night's action, Toronto holds a 1 ½ game lead over their closest division challengers, Baltimore and Boston and they are locked in a 3-way battle for the best record in the American League, trailing tonight's opponent, Cleveland, and the Texas Rangers by only 2 games in the loss column. With a 33-26 road record (no one has more road wins in the AL), the Blue Jays would appear to be in a positive position tonight. That is the case until one considers their capricious trade deadline acquisition of tonight's starter, Liriano. Blue Jays felt that reuniting him with catcher Russell Martin, who caught Liriano while he was with the Pirates, would turn around his season. Nothing could be further from the truth! A disastrous season for Liriano has seen him with a record of 6-12 and 5.46 ERA. The change of scenery has not helped. In 11 2/3 IP of 2 starts for Toronto, Liriano has allowed 8 runs on 15 hits. His most recent start saw him work 5 2/3 innings of a game against Houston, in which he gave up 5 runs. It is improbable that things turn around against a hot-hitting Cleveland team.

For much of the season, Cleveland was led by a strong starting pitching staff. Recently, injuries to the heart of their rotation have cooled off the starters. But, the Tribe still holds 1st place with a comfortable 6-game margin over the Detroit Tigers and trails Texas by only 3 games in the win column for the best record in the American League. Their road-heavy schedule has at last begun to even out with the Tribe standing 6-2 on this home stand. Tonight's starter, Bauer, had struggled in his post-Break starts. But, he turned things around with a return to form the start. In his most recent outings being a return to form starts with consecutive wins against Washington and the LA Angels. It was Bauer who pitched 5 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball for Cleveland in their epic 2-1 (19 innings) win on July 1st against Toronto. Far prefer the better starting pitcher with Bauer over Liriano and the 37-22 home mark of the Tribe.

I invite you to put the MLB odds in your favor and join me in my MLB pick on the Cleveland Indians tonight.

Free MLB Pick: Indians -121
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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