Toronto Bluejays vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview and Pick – Marcum vs. Sheets

Toronto Blue Jays (35-37) +120, 7 at Milwaukee Brewers (37-33), 8 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of

Two teams headed in opposite directions meet when the Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers play the middle game of a three-game inter-league series Wednesday night at Miller Park.

Hardball bookies are listing Milwaukee and starting pitcher Ben Sheets (7-1, 2.72, 1.07) as 130 home favorites for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 7 1/2, while Toronto and Shaun Marcum (5-3, 2.43, .99 WHIP) are getting +120 as road underdogs.

The Brewers took the opener of this series Tuesday night 7-0 behind seven solid innings from starter Manny Parra and five home runs, two from slugging OF Ryan Braun. So going into Wednesday’s game, Toronto, which has lost three games in a row and 11 of its last 15, sits in last place in the AL East, nine games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox, while Milwaukee, 14-6 over its last 20 games, occupies third place in the NL Central, 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs.

Toronto is 17-20 on the road this season, 12-13 as underdogs, and 32-40 against the run line. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is 21-12 at Miller Park this year, 23-18 as favorites, and 32-38 vs. the run line.

Before this series, these two teams hadn’t met since 2005, and hadn’t played in Milwaukee since the Brewers were still in the American League back in 1997.

Over his last three starts, including a great outing vs. Seattle last Wednesday, Marcum has allowed four ER and 30 baserunners (hits + walks) in 21 IP. The Blue Jays are 77 in Marcum’s starts this year, the totals 4-9.

Marcum has never started a regular-season game against Milwaukee.

Over his last three starts, including a three-run, seven-inning performance vs. Houston last Thursday, Sheets has given up five ER and 24 BR in 21 2/3 IP. Milwaukee is 94 in Sheets’ starts this season, the totals 6-6.

Sheets has started once in his career vs. Toronto, beating the Jays back in June of 2005.

Offensively speaking, Toronto ranks 18th in the majors this season in team batting at .258, 9th in team OBP at .336, 28th in team slugging at .375, and is averaging 4.0 runs per game. And five of the Blue Jays’ last seven games have stayed under their totals, as the Toronto offense has scored just 15 runs over that span.

Milwaukee ranks 24th in batting at .251, 24th in OBP at .321, 8th in slugging at .426, and is averaging 4.5 RPG. And four of the Brewers’ last six games have gone over their totals, as Milwaukee has scored 36 runs over that span.

The Blue Jays bullpen has allowed six ER and 24 BR over its last five games, covering 16 2/3 innings of work.

The Brewers pen has given up nine ER and 24 BR over its last five games, covering 15 inning of work.

The totals are 25-44 in Jays games this season, 27-41 in Brewers games, and 12-21 in games played at Miller Park, which are averaging 8.3 total runs this year.

Zman’s Pick: This game is too tough to pick the winning side. We’re on the UNDER 7.5 runs in what should be a pitcher’s duel.