One of the best pitchers in baseball can key an ‘under’ when ace David Price and the Toronto Blue Jays host Yovani Gallardo and the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS.
The home favorites had that best offense in baseball this season, but their ace starter can key an ‘under’ in the ALDS on Thursday when right-hander Yovani Gallardo and the Texas Rangers (88-74, 45-36 away) pay a visit to ace southpaw David Price an those Toronto Blue Jays (93-69, 53-28 home) in Game 1 from Rogers Center in Toronto, ON Canada at 3:35 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -114.
Mismatch on Paper
On paper at least, this Game 1 and this entire series both look like mismatches. After all, the Blue Jays mashed their way to the American League East title while leading the Major Leagues in runs scored with 5.50 per game, home runs with 232 and team OPS at .707 while also ranking second in batting at .269. Furthermore, they now have a Cy Young candidate on the mound in price here in Price.
Meanwhile the Rangers were the winning MLB picks the fewest times this season of ant division winner, winning the American League West title with only an 88-74 record, and because they did not clinch the division until the regular season finale on Sunday while forced to start ace Cole Hamels in that contest, they must go with their second starter Gallardo here who is not in the best of current form.
Second Choice for Cy Young?
Now, Price will in all likelihood finish second in the Cy Young voting behind Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros, but that should not detract from the great season he had while pitching for two different teams, as he was one of the biggest acquisitions in baseball at the trading deadline when the Blue Jays were able pry him away from the Detroit Tigers.
Looking at Price’s entire season, he finished 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 225 strikeouts in 220.1 innings vs. just 47 walks. As for his word in a Toronto uniform only, Price went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 74.1 innings vs. just 18 walks after coming to the Jays.
Price made one start vs. the Rangers after the trade and it came on the road in Arlington on August 26th where he allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts in six innings vs. one walk.
Short Leash for Gallardo?
Gallardo has a rather uneven season in his first year with the Rangers as he finished 13-11 and his 3.42 ERA was very deceptive considering he had a less-than-impressive 1.42 WHIP, 4.00 FIP and 4.31 xFIP. And even worse, Gallardo has gone six innings just once in his last 11 starts going all the way back to August 4th.
However, believe it or not Gallardo has not allowed a single run in two starts vs. the normally potent Blue Jays this season, allowing a mere six hits over 13.2 scoreless innings against them. Obviously a repeat of that would be a major boost to the ‘under’ here with the Rangers not expected to do much vs. Price.
But if Gallardo shows any signs of struggling here as he has oftentimes in the past two months, we would probably get a quick hook which would not be the worst thing in the world for the ‘under’ either, as the Texas bullpen has improved as of late with a commendable 3.27 ERA over 31 innings in the past 10 games, an ERA that would be even better if not for coughing up a four-run lead in the ninth inning to the Angels last Saturday.
Good Career Post-Season ERA
Finally, although Gallardo has not been at his best over the last two months, at least he does have a good post-season track record as he has a 2.08 ERA in five career playoff appearances, an indication that he is not bothered by pitching on the big stage. Also, the ‘under’ is 19-6-1 in Gallardo’s last 26 starts overall, as well as 5-1 in Price’s last six home starts.
The two Wild Card Playoff Games the last two nights both went ‘under’ rather easily, and there is enough evidence here that Game 1 of the ALDS between Texas and Toronto will follow suit on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Rangers, Blue Jays ‘under’ 7½ (-114)