Toronto Blue Jays
Monday, May 8, 2017, at 7:05pm
Written by Adam Rauzino on May 7, 2017
Cleveland Indians (16-13; 9-18-2 O/U) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (10-20; 14-14-2 O/U)
MLB: Monday, May 8, 2017, at 7:07 pm EST
Line: Toronto -121/Cleveland +111
The Toronto Blue Jays will host the Cleveland Indians in the first of a three-game series Monday night from the Rogers Centre. The Indians will hand the ball to 26-year old right-hander Trevor Bauer, and the Blue Jays will send 26-year old right-hander Marcus Stroman to the hill. The Indians won the 2016 season series 4-3, and also beat the Blue Jays in five games in the ALCS.
Bauer Looks to Bounce Back from Worst Start of Season
Trevor Bauer will get the call for the sixth time of the season, looking to rebound from an abysmal outing. Bauer conceded seven runs in four innings pitched to the Tigers in his latest start, and was charged with his third loss of the season. The young right-hander has not looked good this season, posting a 7.76 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP to go along with a 2-3 record in 27 innings pitched. He has had a tough time against Toronto in his career, allowing 13 runs in 18.2 innings to go with a 1-1 record. Kendrys Morales is 4 for 18 against Bauer, while Jose Bautista is 1 for 3, and Russell Martin is 3 for 6 with a homer. Edwin Encarnacion has still yet to really get going this season, hitting a weak .214 with five homers and 11 RBI’s. The 34-year old slugger has only hit two homers over his last 11 games and has not recorded a multi-RBI game since April 22nd. Encarnacion signed a large deal with the Indians in the offseason after smashing 42 home runs with Toronto last season.
The Indians are scoring an average of 4.38 runs per game, ranking them 19th in the Majors, and feature a .244 team batting average. Cleveland’s pitching has been decent, posting a 3.95 team ERA, placing them 12th in the Majors.
Stroman Aims for First Home Win of Season
Marcus Stroman will take the mound for the seventh time of the season, looking to improve his record to 3-2. Stroman left after three innings due to tightness in his arm after allowing five runs to the Yankees five days ago, but he benefited from run support and escaped with the no decision. The hard-throwing right-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his six starts, resulting in a 3.89 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in 39.1 innings of work. He has not seen a whole lot of the Indians in his career, posting a 3.52 ERA in 15.1 innings pitched. Jason Kipnis is 2 for 6 with an RBI against Stroman, while Jose Ramirez is 0 for 7, and Carlos Santana is 3 for 8. Kevin Pillar continues to get on base in the Jays leadoff position, collecting 11 hits over his last eight games with two RBI’s in that span and features a .346 on-base percentage. The slick-fielding center fielder is now hitting a team-leading .304 with four homers and nine RBI’s on the season. Pillar went just 2 for 14 against the Indians tough pitching last season.
The Blue Jays bats are coming around but are still only averaging 3.87 runs per game, ranking them down at 24th overall, and own a .233 team batting average. The Toronto pitching has been subpar, recording a 4.42 team ERA, placing them 23rd in the Majors.
The Cleveland Indians are:
- 1-4 in Bauer’s last 5 starts against a team with a losing record.
- 0-4 in their last 4 games in the first game of a series.
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 4-1 in their last 5 home games against a right-handed starter.
- 4-1 in their last 5 games in the first game of a series.
I am going with the Blue Jays in this contest. Bauer has really struggled this season, allowing four or more runs in four of his five starts, and the Blue Jays have scored a total of 13 runs in 18 innings against him, plus overall the Blue Jays are starting to swing the bats better, so I expect them to get to Bauer. Also, the Indians bats have been cold, scoring three or fewer runs in five straight games, so I am confident Stroman can do enough to lead his team to victory.