Toronto rocked Yankee Stadium for five home runs in a series-opening victory Friday night, and this handicapper expects more of the same when the Jays battle the Yankees on Saturday afternoon.
Blue Jays-Yankees Odds
As of this writing the MLB betting market was holding off on lining today's double-header, presumably because of some uncertainty about what order New York will use Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda. Toronto will go with Marco Estrada in Game 1 and young Marcus Stroman for Game 2.
Toronto took Game 1 of this series Friday night 11-5, rapping out 16 hits, including five homers, getting a pair of ding-dongs from former Yankee Russell Martin. With the victory the Blue Jays upped their lead in the AL East to 2.5 games over second-place New York.
The Yankees, who have lost three in a row, also lost a game off their lead in the American League Wild Card race, which sits at 3.5 games over second-place Texas and 4.5 games over third-place Minnesota.
Toronto now leads this season series nine games to four, with the totals skewing toward the UNDERS by a 9-4 margin.
Game 2 Pitching Matchup
As of this writing we're not exactly sure who's going to pitch which game for New York, so we'll look at both options listed.
Nova (6-7, 4.50), by our tough accounting, is only four-for-13 on quality starts this season. Last Sunday he gave up three runs in six innings against Tampa, and over his last four starts he's allowed 16 runs through 21 innings. On the season, which for him didn't begin until late June, Nova has allowed 73 hits through 74 innings, walked 25 but struck out just 45.
New York is 6-7 in Nova's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER by an 8-4 margin.
In two starts this season against Toronto Nova has allowed seven runs through 12 1/3 innings; the Yankees split those two games.
Pineda (10-8, 4.15) is 11-for-22 on quality starts, but only one for his last five. Monday he gave up four runs in six innings against Baltimore, and over his last five starts he's given up 19 runs through 28 innings. On the season Pineda has allowed more hits, 145, than innings pitched, 134, but his K/BB ratio is super, at 132/18.
New York is 13-9 in Pineda's starts, with the OVERS going 12-8.
In two starts this season against the Blue Jays Pineda has held them to two runs and 11 hits through 14 innings; the Yanks won both those games.
Stroman will be making his first start of this season for the Big Club, after tearing an ACL in spring training. He then made just one rehab start down at Triple-A Buffalo last week and gave up four runs on eight hits and four walks through just three innings. But the kid's got a ton of talent.
Last year, as a 23-year-old rookie, Stroman went 11-6 for Toronto with a 3.65 ERA; he was 13-for-20 on quality starts, allowed 125 hits through 131 innings, and kept the ball in the park, giving up just seven gopher balls. He also walked 28 and struck out 111 for a solid K/BB ratio of 4/1.
The Jays went 11-9 in Stroman's starts last year, with the UNDERS going 12-6-2.
Stroman started three times against the Yanks last year, holding them to five runs through 17 2/3 innings; Toronto won two of those games.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Toronto ranks No. 1 in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .330 team on-base percentage, and No. 2 with a .447 team slugging percentage.
New York, meanwhile, ranks 16th against righties with a .317 team OBP but fourth with a .425 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Yankee Stadium this season are 34-32 on the OVERS, averaging 9.2 runs per.
Blue Jays-Yankees Game 2 Picks
Stroman is a big question mark coming into this start, but Toronto is the hot team at the moment, while New York is teetering, with bad injury news coming left and right. We like the Blue Jays in this game at -125 MLB odds. Also, thanks to those Toronto sticks we like the OVER for one of our MLB picks.
MLB Picks: Blue Jays -125 and OVER 9 (-110) at 5Dimes