MLB Picks: Orioles vs. Blue Jays in Game 3

Doug Upstone

Thursday, April 24, 2014 2:54 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014 2:54 PM UTC

It is the battle of the birds in this AL East showdown and both are teams are trying to catch the New York Yankees. Toronto gets the nod with the betting odds, but should they be one of your MLB picks?

Baltimore Offense Has To Be More Efficient
The Orioles offense displayed last night how they need to execute to beat the MLB odds, leading their team to a come from behind 10-8 victory. Often this season, Baltimore had games with several base hits, yet managed to score three or fewer runs.

Last night they were extremely effective with their 12 hits, which led to 10 runs (the four walks did not hurt), led by Nelson Cruz. The former Rangers outfielder is among baseball's leaders with six homers and 21 RBIs over his first 19 games.

In baseball, you are going to have your hot and cold spells, nevertheless, the idea is to scores runs in correlation to the number of base runners you produce. This is what the Birds have to do and if they become more consistent, they will be harder to beat night in night out.


Toronto Seeking More Offense and Stronger Starters
The Blue Jays are pleased to see Melky Cabrera perform like he did in his brief time in San Francisco and looks to have put his suspension for banned substances behind him. He’s batting over .350 and while his on-base percentage is only nominally higher because of his lack of walks, he’s doing his job.

The same cannot be said about Colby Rasmus, Ryan Gones and Brett Lawrie, all hitting below .200 with tanker-full of strikeouts. With Edwin Encarnacion only providing slightly more production, Toronto is limited what they can do offensively without more players hitting, which makes them a hard choice with sports picks.

Toronto’s starting staff is not elite, nonetheless, they either will have to start being able to pitch deeper into games or the bullpen will be toast by August. Going into Wednesday, the Jays were 27th in starting pitching innings, which will eventually take its toll without improvement.


Pitching Matchup for Thursday
The reason Houston was ready to give up on Bud Norris was because of his wild splits in home/road pitching. The Baltimore right-hander is a respectable 23-19 at home, but in away games he’s 15-32, which includes both his defeats this season. His 4.42 ERA is right at career norms and though he’s been better thus far, opposing teams usually put every available left-hand batter in the lineup, because that is where he struggles.

Drew Hutchinson (1-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) has worked his way back into Toronto’s starting rotation after Tommy John surgery in 2012. He’s averaging better than a strikeout an inning (24 to 20) and his next step in his progression is pitching into the seventh inning, something he’s failed to do thus far in 2014.

Take a Look at Thursday's MLB Picks of the Day!

Bullpen View
The Orioles bullpen has been ordinary with a 3.80 ERA, but they have managed to hang in because they have only allowed 24 walks (3rd in AL), which has helped them convert 77.8 percent of save chances. One weakness is the lack of true power arms, leading to only 50 strikeouts (12th AL).

Toronto’s numbers are similar to their opponent with a 3.96 ERA, however they have been much better at home with a 2.61 ERA mark. The Blue Jays have more hard-throwers, leading to them being second in the junior circuit in punch-outs, but this has led to them to be vulnerable in handing out walks and they have issued the second-most in this category also. The O’s have a 75 percent save rate.


Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
MLB baseball handicappers are aware Toronto has taken 12 of 21 home games the last three years and are 3-2 this season overall. The OVER is 14-7 north of the border when these teams connect.

There has been quite a bit of action for this series-decider with the Jays opening at -125, flying to -148 before retracting to -140. The total of nine has been a constant.


The Winner Is…..Toronto
Today’s starting pitchers faced each in Baltimore 12 days ago and neither surrendered a run.  Don’t look for that to happen again, yet given’s Norris’s deplorable numbers as a road pitcher, let’s lean with the Blue Jays to find a way to manufacture a win for our baseball picks.

MLB Free Picks: Toronto wins

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