Toronto is the hottest outfit in baseball at the moment, and this handicapper loves taking hot teams against those relagated to playing out the string. Thus is the situation for the Jays-A's game Wednesday night in Toronto.
A's-Blue Jays Wednesday Odds
As of this writing the best line we could find on Toronto and RA Dickey was the -210 at Just Bet, while Oakland and rookie righty Aaron Brooks were getting +206 at Pinnacle. Also, most books on our MLB betting board were posting a total on tonight's game of 8.5 runs, although there were some eights out there, too.
Toronto took the opener of this series Tuesday night 4-2, as Drew Hutchison, owner of an ERA of over five, fashioned one of his best outings of the season.
So the Jays now own a nine-game winning streak, while the loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Oakland.
At 62-52 Toronto has pulled to within a half-game of the first-place Yankees in the AL East, and now leads the American League wild-card race by two games over the second-place Angels.
Oakland, meanwhile, at 51-63 leads Boston by a half-game in the battle to stay out of last place in the American League.
The Jays lead this season series three games to one.
Wednesday's Mound Match-Up
Dickey (6-10, 3.93), by our strict standards, is 13-for-23 on quality starts this season, but working on a string of six in a row. Last Friday he held the Yankees to one run through seven innings, and over his last six starts he's allowed just six earned runs through 43 1/3 innings. For the season Dickey has allowed fewer hits, 136, than innings pitched, 151, although 18 of those have left the yard. And his strikeouts/walks ratio sits at a rather mediocre 93/51.
Toronto is 11-12 in Dickey's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER 11-9.
Since the beginning of last season Dickey has started three times against Oakland, allowing six ER and 16 hits through 24 2/3 innings; the Jays won two of those games, and all three games played UNDER.
Brooks (1-0, 2.41) is two-for-two on quality starts since joining the A's rotation earlier this month. Eleven days ago, in his debut for his new team, Brooks held Cleveland to one run through 7 1/3 innings, and last Thursday he limited Houston to one run through seven innings. Oakland won his first start, and the bullpen blew the victory for him in his second. On the season, including a pair of relief appearances for Kansas City, Brooks has allowed 15 hits through 18 2/3 innings, walked just one and struck out 15.
Brooks has spent most of this year down at Triple-A Omaha, where he's 6-5 with a 3.71 ERA and a 92/21 K/BB ratio.
This will be Brooks' second career start against Toronto, and he hopes it goes a little better than the first, back in May of last season, when in his second ML appearance, as a Royal, he got rocked for seven runs in less than one inning of a 12-2 Kansas City loss.
Wednesday's Batting Splits
Oakland ranks 16th in the Majors against right-handed pitching this season with a .253 team batting average, and 19th with a .309 team on-base percentage.
Toronto ranks 13th against righties with a .255 batting average and eighth with a .322 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Rogers Centre this season have skewed toward the UNDERS by a 33-23 margin, even though they're averaging 9.3 runs per, fifth-most among all ML ballparks. Obviously, oddsmakers have been posting some large totals on Jays home games.
Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion has missed recent action with a sore finger, and his status for Wednesday is uncertain.
A's-Jays Wednesday Free Picks
Toronto is the hot team, getting some great pitching as of late, and we expect that to continue Wednesday. But that price seems harsh, so we'll take a chance with the Jays on the run line. Also, we could easily see this game getting to 6-3, so we're thinking OVER.
MLB Picks: Toronto -105 on the run line at Heritage and OVER 8.5 runs (+106) at Pinnacle