Toronto Blue Jays (Eveland) vs. Chicago White Sox (Danks) Preview and Pick and Betting Line

Toronto Blue Jays (16-13) Dana Eveland, at Chicago White Sox
(12-16) John Danks, U.S.Cellular Field, Chicago, Ill., 8:10 PM EST,
Thursday, May 6th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: Blue Jays +165/Red Sox -175
Total: 9

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The Toronto Blue Jays will try and remain perfect on their current
nine-game road trip when they travel to U.S. Cellular Field in
Chicago to start a four-game series with the White Sox Thursday night.

The series opener features a matchup of left-handers when Toronto
hands the ball to Dana Eveland and asks him to try and match the
White Sox best arm so far in 2010, John Danks.

The Blue Jays completed the first three games of their road trip in
style, sweeping the Cleveland Indians by winning last nights finale
in come-from-behind fashion, 5-4. The Jays only had one out left in
the ninth inning when Aaron Hill hit a grounder to short that should
have ended the game, but Indians shortstop Luis Valbuena kicked it,
and the next Jays hitter in the lineup Adam Lind launched a two-run
homerun into the seats to stun the Tribe.

The Jays have now won four in a row and six of their last seven
games, so it appears the offense is starting the get back into the
groove at the plate after getting shut down by Tampa and Boston
during a five-game losing streak.

Chicago is also coming into tonights game fresh off of a successful series
win, taking two of three from the Royals at the Cell earlier in the week.
Starter Freddy Garcia pitched six strong thanks in part to the White Sox
offense giving him a 4-0 lead in the first inning, and Andruw Jones
hit his 9th homerun of the season to give the Sox the rubber match yesterday,

The Sox are just 5-5 in their last 10 games and at 12-16 overall, so
they really need another quality start out of Danks tonight to try
and keep pace with the Twins in the AL Central.

Oddsmakers are banking on Danks to do just that, opening the betting
line overnight with Danks and Chicago as high as a -200 favorite on
the moneyline. There are still a few offshore sportsbooks with the
line as high as -190, but most places have dropped it down to the
-185 to -180. Sportsbooks with a dimeline or reduced juice are as low
as -175, which means you can find the Blue Jays listed as underdogs
from as high as +170 all the way down to +155.

The over/under total is all over the board, listed at either 8.5 or 9
depending on where you wager. Although taking the over on 8.5 means
youll have to lay extra juice (-120 to -125).

Dissecting tonights pitching matchup is made a little more difficult
because of the way Eveland has pitched thus far in 2010.

After being left for dead by both the Brewers and As in his career,
Eveland started the season off for the Jays like gangbusters throwing
two quality games including a six-inning, three-hit, two-run gem
against the White Sox for a 7-3 victory on April 15th. But the
leftys last two starts were more likely why the As and Brewers
dumped him (9 IP, 16 H, 11 R in a 13-12 loss to Boston and a 4-3 loss
to Oakland), so it makes you wonder if the opposition has already
figured him out and his best days are behind him.

His history versus the White Sox (1-1 in two starts, 1.313 WHIP, .348
OBP, .743 OPS) is limited and his only outing at the Cell in Chicago
was two years ago in 2008 when he was with the As (4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R,
3 BB, .435 OBP, .935 OPS), so Ill let you decide if any of that is
relevant of not. Outfielder Carlos Quentin is 1-for-4 with a homerun
against Eveland, but the rest of the Sox lineup has less than three
at-bats against him so the little data there too.

Danks has been the White Sox best starter, throwing better than both
of his more expensive counterparts (i.e. Jake Peavy and Mark Buehrle)
with a 3-0 record (Sox are 4-1 in his starts) and solid splits all
around (1.00 WHIP, 1.85 ERA, .256 OBP) while never allowing more than
two runs in any of his five starts in 10.

But just like Eveland, his history against the Blue Jays is sketchy
and hard to read. In four starts Danks is 1-2 with rather high splits
for Danks (1.525 WHIP, .352 OBP, .775 OPS), but all four of those
starts came at Rogers Centre over the leftys short career. In Danks
lone start last year against the Jays he was terrible (3 IP, 9 H, 7
R), but his start on April 14th of this season was titties (7 IP, 2
H, 1 R in 11-1 win).

For what its worth, hes a perfect 3-0 at home at the Cell this season, with a ridiculous 1.64 ERA, an 0.909 WHIP and a microscopic .
542 OPS. Danks also seems to be dialing it up against right-handed
hitters as his splits versus righties (.174 BA, .224 OBP) are
opposite of what youd expect, and his splits versus lefties are
worrisome (.281 BA, .343 OBP).

These two teams split their earlier four-game set at Rogers 2-2,
making the Jays 9-3 versus the White Sox since 2009. If you go back
into 2008 the Jays dominance over the Sox continues to a 16-4 mark,
so its safe to say the Blue Jays have their number right now.

Three of those four games went over the total in Toronto in April,
and the over is also 5-2 at U.S. Cellular Field since 2008, so the
over has a good betting trend going for it right now.

Badgers Pick: I really like Danks here and have already cashed on a
few of his earlier games this season, but at -175 to -180 Im afraid
hes been too good and priced himself out of my range now. That puts
me on the under, with cool weather expected in Chicago tonight Ill
take my chances neither team scores much tonight. Take the under of
8.5 or 9 if you want the extra hook.