Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays Pick 6/29/18
Time: 7:07 PM ET
Venue: Rogers Centre
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Moneyline: Detroit (+157) / Toronto (-180)
After a day off on Thursday, the Toronto Blue Jays welcome the Detroit Tigers for a four-game home set thru the weekend at Rogers Centre. Detroit enters the series on a nine-game losing streak, while Toronto’s split their last ten decisions. Francisco Liriano (3-3, 3.94 ERA & 1.25 WHIP) gets the ball in game one for the Tigers, and Marcus Stroman (0-5, 6.80 ERA & 1.68 WHIP) will toe the rubber for the Blue Jays. This is the only series on the Regular Season schedule between these two American League clubs.
The struggles continue for Detroit Rock City
Two weeks ago, the Detroit Tigers were right in the thick of the race in the American League Central Division Standings. What can happen in a matter of two weeks? Nine straight losses occurred, bringing Detroit’s record down to 36-46 (.439) for the season. Consequently, Detroit’s third in the AL Central race, nine and a half games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians. On the road, Detroit’s compiled a 13-25 (.342) record thus far. With future hall of fame first baseman Miguel Cabrera on the sidelines for the rest of the season with a bicep injury, right-fielder Nicholas Castellanos (.310, 11 HR, 47 RBI & .359 OBP) has taken the reigns as the leader of this club. In his last five games, Castellanos has hit .474 with two home runs and six runs batted in. He’s added four extra-base hits in his previous five games as well. On Thursday, Castellanos belted a two-run homer in the first inning to give Detroit a 2-0 early lead versus Oakland. However, the Tigers couldn’t hold on and lost 4-2 for their ninth straight defeat. During the stretch of futility, Detroit has been outscored 61-24 by their opposition. With veteran lefty Francisco Liriano getting the ball Friday night north of the border, Detroit hopes to exorcise the demons and finally break through for a “W.”
Liriano (3-3, 3.94 ERA & 1.25 WHIP) had a great start to the year. In April, he went 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Since Liriano’s 0-2 with a 4.49 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in his last six starts. However, the big lefty has had success at Rogers Centre throughout his illustrious career. Liriano’s compiled a 9-4 record with a 3.98 ERA and 1.20 WHIP on the astroturf north of the border in 13 MLB seasons.
Jays lose a heartbreaker
Toronto had a gut-wrenching loss in their last decision at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas on Wednesday night. Blue Jays closer Ryan Tepera (5-3, 2.97 ERA & 1.19 WHIP) blew his fifth save of the season, allowing a game-winning two-run homer to Alex Bregman in the bottom of the ninth to lose 7-6. The Jays notched five runs in the opening inning off Dallas Keuchel but ultimately couldn’t hang on for the victory. Toronto’s lost two of their last three, and half of their last ten contests. Overall, Toronto’s 37-43 (.463) this year which is good for fourth place in the American League East. The Blue Jays are 16.5 games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox. At the Rogers Centre, the Jays are 20-20 (.500) so far this season. Teoscar Hernandez (.259, 13 HR & 33 RBI) and Yangervis Solarte (.252, 15 HR & 45 RBI) lead the team in batting average and home runs approaching the midway point of the season.
Duke product Marcus Stroman (0-5, 6.80 ERA & 1.68 WHIP) will get the start for the Jays. The 27-year-old righty’s struggled this year mostly due to a nagging shoulder issue. In his first start since returning from a month and a half absence, Stroman tossed five scoreless innings. He allowed six hits, struck out five and allowed just one free pass, earning a no-decision at the Los Angeles Angels on June 23rd. In his career versus Detroit, Stroman’s 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.
Even though Detroit’s lost nine straight decisions, the streak of futility must end at some point. This looks like a good opportunity for that to happen. Oddsmakers have Detroit +157, which is giving them a 38.9% chance to win here. Detroit’s 37-31 (.544) as an underdog this season, while Toronto’s 12-18 (.400) as the favorite. The Tigers have a slightly better offense and a more seasoned pitcher on the hill. It’s clear the edge in this one lies with taking the visitors on the line.