A fast start to the scoring in Toronto on Sunday couldn’t sustain itself long enough for us to cash the first over play of the year. But a push kept things in place for the time being.
We’re staying in the American League East this week for a game between the Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles. Toronto hits the road this week for a series at Camden Yards and looks to push its record over .500 as it faces Miguel Gonzalez.
You already know – Miguel Gonzalez has been one of my favorites and he gets a favorable matchup this week. Not so much against the offense he’s scheduled to face, but the opposing pitcher. Toronto can rake. And even a very slow start for Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, albeit not nearly as slow, hasn’t held down the Jays’ offense. Newcomers Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson have worked wonders setting the table for Toronto at the top of the lineup and the middle of the order will only hit more as the season drags on. Gonzalez will have his work cut out for him in his seventh start of the season – all of which have come against AL East teams.
But while Gonzo gave up a season-high 5 earned runs in his last outing against New York, he has seemingly regained his usually good control after walking 10 in his first 3 starts of the season. Gonzalez has walked just 4 in his last 3, which has helped his WHIP regress toward the more expected 1.20 range. I have no reason to think he’ll be any less than what I’ve come to expect out of him in a spot like this on Wednesday. He’ll get through at least five and will probably hold Toronto to just a few.
This is an attractive matchup because of what the Baltimore offense could do against Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez, who has shown no signs of controlling his stuff this season. While Sanchez’s ERA of 3.62 is only five hundredths of a run higher than Gonzalez’s, his WHIP is 1.55 due to 25 walks in 32.1 innings pitched. That mark compares even worse to his strikeout total of 24. Sanchez has been all over the place and it just doesn’t seem possible that teams will continue to squander so many free bases.
Baltimore has really struggled in the early going this year, but it doesn’t warrant such a price at home against such a weak starting pitcher. Gonzalez should do his part. If Sanchez remains wild, Baltimore will have plenty of opportunity to take a lead into the latter portion of this one.
Free Pick: Baltimore -125 (First 5 Innings)
YTD: 2-1-1 +0.98
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02