The Toronto Blue Jays have scored 24 runs the first two games of this series with the Angels, but look for a lower scoring game as R.A Dickey faces Garrett Richards Sunday.
After a couple of high-scoring games in the first two games of this series, mostly powered by the visiting team, look for the pitchers to take over in an ‘under’ on Sunday when R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays (68-55, 28-32 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Garrett Richards and the Los Angeles Angels (63-60, 39-26 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA at 3:35 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - West.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -101.
Angels Now Down to Third
The Blue Jays have applied pressure on the New York Yankees in the American League East by scoring a hefty 24 runs on 31 hits in the first two games of this series while triumphing by impressive scores of 9-2 and 15-3 respectively! Thus, second place Toronto has now closed to within one-half game of New York inside the division, and the Blue Jays currently own the first wild card spot by 4½ games over the Texas Rangers in the second wild card spot.
Meanwhile, with the Angels being the losing MLB picks here at home in Anaheim the last two nights, it has enabled those Rangers to pass them by one-half game for second place in the American League West, dropping Los Angeles to third place and 4½ games behind the first place Houston Astros as well as out of a wild card spot. And this is after the Angels had taken over the division lead the last day before the All-Star break after chasing the Astros all year.
Richards Can Cool Off Jays
The Halos may have the right pitcher on the bump to cool off the Toronto bats in Richards, who has allowed three runs or less in seven of his last 10 starts and a reasonable four runs each of the other three occasions. Richards is not having a season on par with his breakthrough season of 2014, when he finished 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 164 strikeouts vs. 51 walks in 168.2 innings, but that is relatively speaking as he is still having a solid 2015.
Richards comes in 12-9 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, and he has started to again increase his strikeout rate over his last four starts with 26 of them in 26.1 innings. Remember that his season was cut short last year by a serious knee injury sustained in Boston in August, so it could simply be that he is just now back on his best form after his strikeout rate had been down prior to those last four outings, as he currently has 117 in 149 innings for the year.
But perhaps most importantly he has demonstrated that he can handle this potent Toronto offense, posting Quality Starts in each of his last three starts against the Blue Jays with a 3.04 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over those outings.
Will Angels Score Enough?
However, even if Richards does maintain his good form, it would still not ensure victory because of the current state of the Angels’ offense, which has now scored three runs or less on four straight games with the last three of those contests ending in defeat. Taking that back a bit further, the Angels are batting just .219 and averaging 3.07 runs in their last 10 games. So while a good outing by Richards may not guarantee a win, it would certainly be a boon to the ‘under’.
Now, Dickey has been inconsistent for the Blue Jays 7-10 with a 4.14 ERA, but the good news is he had allowed three runs or less in seven straight starts before being touched up for five runs in just four inning by the Phillies in Philadelphia on Tuesday, and his knuckleball usually flutters more in heavy air, which is usually the case at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
And for evidence of that, look no further than Dickey’s last start here last season when he tossed seven scoreless innings allowing just four hits vs. a Angels’ team that went on to finish with the best record in the Major Leagues.
Daytime ‘under’ Pitchers
Finally, it may be worth noting that both of these hurlers have pitched well in the afternoon sunshine leading to good ‘under’ marks, with Richards posting a 2.87 ERA and the ‘under’ going a lucrative 6-1 in day games and Dickey posting a 3.76 ERA with the ‘under’ going a winning 5-3 in the daytime.
So while it may not be apparent by watching the Toronto bats the last two nights, it is the ‘under’ that appears to be the play when the Blue Jays wrap up their series visiting the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Sunday.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays, Angels ‘under’ 8 (-101)