Toronto is in the midst of playing 11 of 13 road games and they will pick up the backend of road adventure in Chicago and challenge those betting baseball in the series opener at The Cell.
The Blue Jays at least had yesterday off, while the White Sox could not hold two different leads in Boston and fell to the Red Sox 8-7 in extra innings, preventing a four-game sweep of the BoSox.
Your cheerful handicapper is 23-12 with his MLB picks this season and is ready to explain what you need to watch for Friday night.
Aaron Sanchez (7-1, 3.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) has been a godsend for Toronto and is one of the key reasons they are even hanging around near the top of the AL East. The hard-throwing 23-year old is primarily a fastball pitcher, adding and subtracting velocity for movement. His curveball could stand to be used more because it is an absolute hammer, while the changeup remains a work in progress. Also, for a young thrower, his poise on the road has been amazing, with a 2.43 ERA in eight starts (5-0 record) and opposing hitters batting only .205 against him.
With Carlos Rodon (2-6, 4.16, 1.49) sporting a poor record, it is easy to point the finger at him and say he is not doing the job. While the left-hander has certainly had his crummy outings, his teammates scoring three or less runs in eight of his 13 starts has not helped, nor was blowing a 7-0 lead to Kansas City in stunning 8-7 loss, in which Rodon surrendered one run. The lefty has mid-90’s fastball, but makes mistakes in location, which is why opponents are hitting .289 against him.
Is Toronto Offense Back?
After more than two months of disappointing results, the Blue Jays bats are finally making some noise after being baseball’s best offense a year ago. In Toronto’s past eight outings, they have averaged 8.3 runs per game and taken scoring average to 4.6, which is still far below 2015 average of 5.5 RPG. The home runs have started to come from the usual suspects in manager John Gibbons lineup and the Jays have now won eight of 12 and are beginning to at least resemble last year’s team.