Toronto skips over to the bay area to take on the San Francisco Giants for a quick two game series before coming back home North of the border. Good news for the Jays with the return of Josh Johnson from the disabled list has Toronto just a short +100 underdog on the road against the Giants.
Josh Johnson gets set to make his first start since April against a pretty familiar opponent during his days in the National League. The Giants may not be an ideal lineup for Johnson to take on in his first game back with the big league club. In 67 career at-bats against the big right-hander, the Giants’ batters have posted a dominant .358 mark. Hunter Pence leads the way with a 5-11 career against Johnson that included two homeruns. Johnson posted just 12 strikeouts against Giants’ hitters vs. five walks for a ratio that is very unlike his typical self. Johnson will likely be on a pitch count in his first start back from injury, which means the Giants will look to take him deep into counts and put the ball in play with two strikes. Johnson usually excels deep into counts with dominant stuff that punches a lot of guys out. He has yet to show this ability in a Toronto uniform even before injury so there should be some doubt about whether or not he can have success in his first game back on the road. The good news for Johnson is that AT&T Park features lots of spacious room in the outfield where he may be able to get away with a couple mistakes while working off the rust of a long layoff.
Johnson’s counterpart is former San Francisco ace, Tim Lincecum. Lincecum has struggled for the last year plus but not against batters hewill face in Toronto’s lineup. Lincecum has held current Blue Jay batters to just a .208 career average in over 75 at-bats throughout his career. Melky Cabrera, Rajai Davis and Colby Rasmus have all struggled, posting just a combined 3 for 17 over their careers against The Freak. Look for Lincecum to go right after a Toronto lineup that he should have lots of confidence against in front of the always-inspiring San Francisco faithful. He is coming off of a 3-hit shutout outing against the Dodgers in five innings of work his last time out so Lincecum may have some momentum to carry into his upcoming start.
This matchup points to the Giants at home. San Francisco have proven to be the better team over the
course of this season with all of Toronto’s injuries and underachieving. The Blue Jays have been out West for a few games now and may struggle to maintain focus on the tail-end of the road trip. Expect
Johnson to be on a strict pitch count and for San Fran to get into Toronto’s bullpen early and take advantage. The Giants as -120 favorites is the play here.
Free Pick: San Francisco -120