Things finally sorta went how we planned for them last night in Texas with both starters pitching well and the under coming in with a run to spare. We’ve got six more plays left in August with less than half the month to go so the play volume stays high here.
After a couple losses to cool their heads following the double-digit winning streak that caught all of baseball’s attention, Toronto got back into the win column to salvage the last game in a three-game set against the Yanks. The Blue Jays entered that series tied and now look at a one-game deficit in the AL East and still sit perched on top of the wildcard. With plenty of time left and some weak opponents on the horizon, the Blue Jays have plenty opportunity to catch New York and get back into the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.
That home stretch starts on Tuesday night with a trip to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies. While Philadelphia’s overall record still looks horrendous, the Phils have shown a lot of fight in the second half and have actually been a thorn in the side of some opponents down the stretch. That said, they are back in last place in the NL East and are coming off a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. Back at home, Aaron Nola will make the sixth start of his career. As of now, his numbers look all right with a 4.25 ERA and an even better WHIP that’s just over 1.20. But those five starts have come against Tampa Bay, the Cubs, Braves, Padres and Diamondbacks. Of the bunch, the Cubs are really the only formidable opponent and he gave up four earned in Wrigley. He’s also coming off four earned runs against the Snakes in the desert. Tonight’s spot against the red-hot Blue Jays who are fighting for a playoff spot will be a totally different level. And we’ll see if the unproven starter can stick around against the powerful offense.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s starting pitchers are on a tremendous run of 20 straight starts with three or less runs allowed and RA Dickey doesn’t plan to snap that streak. Dickey is 4-0 in his last five starts, running his record from 3-10 to a much more respectable 7-10. He himself hasn’t given up more than three in a month and a half. And he went another month before. This game comes down to reliability and the Jays have it with their starter going up against a weak offense, while I’m just not sure Nola is up to the task tonight. This one should be decisive.
Free Pick: Blue Jays (-1.5) -110
YTD: 16-14-4 -0.69
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02