These are all series openers and we will check on the hunted and the hunter against the sportsbooks betting odds to see which team and starting pitcher might be the best choice for sports picks.
Blue Jays vs. Rays: Toronto and Hutchison Seek to Narrow Gap with Tampa Bay
The good news for the Blue Jays was winning 14 of 16 brought them back into the AL East race, but losing their last two games at home after that hot stretch has left them three games behind first place Tampa Bay. Toronto heads south to attempt to move even closer and winning this contest in very important if they want to win the series because they face Chris Archer tomorrow.
This places the onus on Drew Hutchison (6-1, 5.33 ERA) to come up with a big effort. Despite an outstanding record, the right-hander has been the benefactor of several games in which his teammates have scored plenty of runs. In fact, Toronto has won four of Hutchinson’s seven road starts despite him having a humongous 9.48 ERA. He has surrendered eight of his 10 home runs in away games.
Tampa Bay has also been piping hot, winning eight of 10 to take over first place and will utilize Matt Andriese (2-1, 3.26). The Rays righty will face a potent Toronto lineup which averages a baseball-best 5.5 runs a game.
Have to admit it is surprising to see the Blue Jays as -125 favorites at Heritagesports.eu, who in A+ rating at SportsBookReview. Hutchison has a 6.31 ERA in five career starts against the Rays and his team has a 1-6 mark against Tampa Bay this season, accounting the for the difference in the standings. Also, as a baseball handicapper I cannot overlook the fact the Jays are 3-13 away against a good bullpen that converts 75 percent or more of their save opportunities this season.
Advantage – Andriese and Tampa Bay
Tigers vs. Indians: Detroit and Cleveland Have to Make a Move
Both the Tigers and Indians could still catch AL Central front-runner Kansas City, but they need to start showing signs they are more than .500 clubs. However, if you recall, the win totals for these two teams were nothing special despite being the favorites, with each projected to win 84 games.
No reason to panic either with wild card slots available but both managers would like to see more consistency week to week. Detroit has won seven of nine meetings this season and will send Kyle Ryan (1-1, 3.26) to the mound who will make his fourth career start. The lanky left-hander has pitch to contact command, but lacks a fastball that almost never touches 90 MPH.
Cleveland counters with Trevor Bauer (6-3, 3.22), who still walks too many batters (4.5 per nine innings) but makes up for it be striking out a hitter per inning and only gives up 0.76 hits per inning.
Because of the starting pitching edge, the Indians MLB odds have them at -140. Nevertheless, Detroit knows how to beat the Tribe (18-5 at Progressive Field) and the Cleveland offense has registered a paltry 2.0 RPG in their last seven which makes the Tigers at least tempting underdog.
Slight Advantage – Ryan and Detroit
Astros vs. Angels: Anaheim Looks To Make Progress
The Los Angeles Angels are among the bigger disappointments in baseball this season with a .500 record after 70 contests and at -3.3 units. Last year’s prolific offense which averaged 4.75 RPG is down to 4.0, which is quite pathetic considering how hot Albert Pujols has been the last month.
If the Angels expect to insert themselves back in the AL West chase, they need a home series win over first place Houston. Not only do they need to score more, but need a sharper Hector Santiago (4-4, 2.77), who has a 5.74 ERA in his past three outings largely due to allowing six homers. That is not a good mix against the AL’s top home run hitting team.
Brett Oberholtzer (2-1, 2.73) takes the ball for Houston as + 115 underdogs and he’s 1-3 in four starts with an ERA of 6.35 against the Halos. The Astros are 21-12 as underdogs this season, while Santiago and the Angels 2-10 when he pitches at home if they are off a setback.
Advantage – Oberholtzer and Houston