Any Reason Home Success of Jays’ Stroman Ends Vs. White Sox Saturday?

Matthew Jordan

Friday, June 16, 2017 5:41 PM UTC

Friday, Jun. 16, 2017 5:41 PM UTC

Saturday’s MLB action is full of matinees, and the first is from Toronto (1:07 ET) as the Blue Jays host the White Sox in Game 2 of a three-game set. The Jays are solidly favored behind their best starting pitcher in 2017.

MLB Season Record: 21-16

Chicago White Sox At Toronto Blue Jays (-238, 9)

It’s Game 2 of a three-game set between the White Sox and Blue Jays north of the border at Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon (1:07 ET), the earliest-starting game on the schedule. Both teams entered the series last (or tied for) in their respective divisions.

Isn’t it amazing how much things can change in a little over a year? The White Sox made their lone visit to Toronto last year in late April and dominated the Blue Jays in a three-game sweep to improve to 16-6. It was Chicago’s first sweep in Toronto since May 2005. With a 1-2 punch of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana (who started Friday’s series opener), the White Sox looked like legitimate AL contenders back then. Of course, the Sox would fall apart after a 23-10 start and finish 78-84. That led to a selloff of Sale and Adam Eaton this offseason as GM Rick Hahn has started a full rebuild. Quintana, third baseman Todd Frazier, outfielder Melky Cabrera and closer David Robertson are all good bets to be dealt by the July 31 trade deadline this year.

I believe run differential is the most important statistic in baseball when judging how good a team is. The Cubs led the majors with a run differential of plus-252 last year and won the World Series. Every division winner but one was at least plus-87. What’s weird about the AL Central cellar-dwelling White Sox is they have the second-best run differential in the division (minus-2 entering this series) and it’s significantly better than first-place Minnesota.

Meanwhile, this could be a season-defining series for the Jays as they look to get over .500 for the first time this year by sweeping it. Toronto looked dead in the water when it started 6-17 so getting over breakeven would be a big deal and really give this team momentum heading out on a seven-game road trip (Rangers and Royals) next week.


Saturday’s Probable Pitchers

The Detroit Tigers released veteran right-hander Mike Pelfrey on the eve of the season, and the White Sox signed him in the hopes that Pelfrey would simply eat some innings and perhaps show enough to be flipped to a contender for a prospect. Pelfrey is no better than a No. 5 guy and isn’t going to go deep into games, but he has been solid with a 3.81 ERA. Pelfrey has allowed more than three earned just once all season but also has gone six innings only one time. He comes off a throwing one scoreless inning of relief Wednesday vs. Baltimore, but Manager Rick Renteria said that basically served as Pelfrey’s in-between starts bullpen session and he’ll be good to go here.

Pelfrey was an ugly 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA last year with Detroit, but one of his best starts was July 8 in Toronto, allowing one run over six innings – although he lost. Toronto’s Troy Tulowitzki is 8-for-23 career against him with a homer. Kendrys Morales, Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson also have gone yard against Pelfrey.

The Jays’ rotation has been ravaged by injury this season but the one bedrock has been Marcus Stroman (7-2, 3.09). He has nine quality starts in 13 outings and comes off one in Seattle, allowing one earned and six hits over seven innings. Since his last personal loss April 18 vs. Boston, Stroman is 6-0 with a 2.77 ERA over 61.2 innings.  Stroman is a sinker-baller who gets a ton of ground-ball outs (60 percent ground-ball rate and just 29 percent hard-hit rate). The Jays are +307 units in MLB betting in Stroman’s 2017 outings.

Stroman was 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA in two starts last year vs. Chicago. Cabrera, a former Blue Jay, is 4-for-6 career against him. Tim Anderson is 2-for-3 with a homer.


Reasoning For Pick

Pelfrey’s 4.50 road ERA is nearly a run-and-a-half worse than at home. Stroman, meanwhile, has a 3.20 home ERA and gets the third-most run support in the majors overall at 6.15 runs per game. Toronto has won his past seven at Rogers Centre. Make it 8 as the Jays are my MLB pick.

Free MLB Pick: Blue Jays RL (-120)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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