Toronto Blue Jays (+127) at Seattle Mariners (-137, 7 o/u)
The Toronto Blue Jays (49-48, 21-29 Away) continue their western road trip tonight with the first of three games in the Pacific Northwest against the disappointing Seattle Mariners (44-52, 20-27 Home) at Safeco Field (10:10 PM Eastern). While more was expected from both of these teams this year, tonight’s matchup could be a good one as Drew Hutchison (9-2, 5.19 ERA) faces Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.77 ERA).
Toronto skidded into the All-Star Break, losing three of four, but have gotten off to a solid start to the second half of the year, winning four of six (by taking two of three from both Tampa Bay and Oakland). They still sit 5.5 games back of the Yankees in the AL East – and three back of Minnesota for the second Wild Card spot – but are once again over .500 after slipping just below prior to the midsummer classic.
Tonight’s expected starter, Drew Hutchison, has a sterling 9-2 record and has won four of his last six starts (with one no-decision), but those numbers hide some serious issues. Toronto’s opening day starter has really struggled on the road this year; he is 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA at home, but just 2-1 with a massive 8.81 ERA in ten road starts. Away from home, batters are hitting an inflated .372 off the young righty.
Hutchison was expected to be on the mound on Thursday against the Oakland A’s, but was scratched due to the flu. As to his health for tonight’s game, manager John Gibbons told the Associated Press, “He came in and played catch … He’s feeling much better so hopefully he’ll be good to go. If not, definitely Saturday he should be good.”
The Mariners, on the other hand, are 10.5 games below the Los Angeles Angels in AL West. They are 3-4 since the ASG, dropping two of three to the Yankees and splitting a four-game set with the Tigers. They managed to pick up the win last night as Hisashi Iwakuma matched Tiger ace David Price pitch-for-pitch. Iwakuma and the M’s pen held the Tigers to just two runs and wound up winning the game 3-2 in extras off a Mike Zunino double.
The good news for Seattle fans is that “King” Felix will be on the mound tonight. In his last start, Hernandez went six innings of five-hit, one-run ball against the Yankees, but wound up with a no-decision as the pen let the lead slip away.
“I’m not happy, because we lost,” he said to the AP after the game. “But everything was working pretty good today.”
Hutchison’s road woes should turn around at some point, given the stuff he possesses. With Hernandez on the mound for the Mariners, the under looks like the best play.
Pick: Under 7.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)