Toronto Blue Jays (-173, 8.5 o/u) at Texas Rangers (+163)
A pitchers’ duel is on tap tonight as lefty David Price (12-4, 2.40 ERA) and the Toronto Blue Jays (70-55, 30-32 Away) square off with Colby Lewis (14-5, 4.29 ERA) and the Texas Rangers (64-60, 28-31 Home) at Globe Life Park (8:05 PM Eastern).
Toronto, winners of four straight, took a one-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East thanks to a 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Rangers last night in the first of the three-game set. Deadline acquisition Troy Tulowitzki, who has actually struggled at the plate since coming to Toronto, showed signs that he’s coming out of his current slump. The lanky shortstop had three hits last night, including a game-tying RBI single in the top of the ninth.
Manager John Gibbons, who hasn’t moved “Tulo” from the lead-off spot despite his struggles, wasn’t at all surprised by his shortstop’s big night.
“He’s starting to get some hits the last couple of games. He’s one of the best players in baseball, has been for a number of years. He had that chance tonight. Right guy, right time,” manager John Gibbons said to the Associated Press. “He’s starting to heat up. He looks good. He’s starting to throw some line drives out there.”
With their other prized deadline aqcuisition on the mound tonight, the Jays will be confident they can keep their winning streak alive. Price is 3-0 in his last four starts and is coming off an eight-inning, six-hit, two-run win over the Angels.
If the Jays are the hottest team in the AL, the Rangers aren’t far behind. Left for dead in the playoff race short weeks ago, the team has surged since acquiring pitcher Cole Hamels at the trade deadline and welcoming Derek Holland back to the rotation. They remain 4.5-games back of Houston in the AL West, but hold a slim half-game lead over the Angels and Twins for the second Wild Card berth.
Texas had won three straight before last night’s setback, and will turn to Colby Lewis to keep them in a playoff position. Lewis has been the Rangers’ best hurler all season and is looking for his AL-best 15th win of the season tonight. Last time out, he went seven innings, allowing six hits and no runs in a 2-0 win over the Tigers.
But Lewis won’t be facing the slumping Tigers again tonight. Instead, he’ll face the most prolific batting order in the majors, which leads the league in runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Given the power in the Jays’ lineup, their current win-streak, and the fact that Price is on the mound, the value lies with Toronto (-173).
Pick: Toronto (-173).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)