The Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians are both looking for something to ignite them at the end of the month of April. They’re both under .500 and have just lost three-game midweek series. That’s why this game is basically a PICK on the MLB betting lines.
The Toronto Blue Jays Can Win Because…
They are facing a pitcher who is in terrible shape right now. T.J. House of the Cleveland Indians did not face Toronto last year, but his season ERA is 12.60. He has been battered left and right, and while early-season ERAs do tend to be high because the number of innings is smaller, a pitcher does have to begin to get that ERA under seven or eight runs in order to show that he can stabilize as he eases into the regular season. House has not yet managed to at least turn the corner and show that he can give this team a small degree of production.
Consider how bad House has been in 2015: He has made three starts, and he has averaged 3 1/3 innings per start. In his one previous home start this season, House lasted just 1 1/3 innings and gave up six runs. In his two road starts, he’s given up eight runs in a combined total of 8 2/3 innings. He’s gotten shelled, giving up 17 hits in his 10 innings of work. He’s not able to get hitters off balance, and that’s why he’s in such deep trouble. Toronto is MLB odds favorite tonight and should be able to put very good swings on the ball and drive the ball into the gaps. Cleveland’s pitching has been punished by good hitting, and with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion sitting in that Jays’ batting order, Toronto has to feel that it can score a high number of runs in this game.
The Cleveland Indians Can Win Because…
They finally broke a four-game losing streak on Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals. Beating the defending American League champions could give this team a needed boost. That’s one reason to pick the Tribe, who got a three-run homer from Jason Kipnis in that game.
A bigger reason to pick the Indians in this game, though, is that Toronto starter Daniel Norris does not inspire confidence. Norris did not pitch against Cleveland last season, but he carried a 5.40 ERA through the 2014 season. This year, he’s not terrible, but his 4.43 ERA is hardly cause for celebration. Norris has given up 10 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings. He’s given up 19 hits, almost an average of one hit per inning. Norris is averaging roughly five innings per start, having made four starts on the season. He gives the appearance of a pitcher who won’t get crushed, but won’t go deep into the game and will cause a mediocre Toronto bullpen to have to carry the final four innings. After scoring seven runs on Wednesday, the Indians’ bats might be primed to attack Norris and set the right tone in this game.
The Indians did break a losing skid, but T.J. House is having such a nightmarish season that he has to be trusted before he can be bet on. That moment has not yet arrived. You have to take Toronto here with your MLB picks over a pitcher with House’s abysmal numbers.
MLB Pick: Toronto -115 at WagerWeb