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September 28, 2016

There is one MLB pick tonight.

Take Toronto Blue Jays (-146) on the ML against Baltimore Orioles risking 4.38% to win 3%.
(Liriano must start for wager to have action)

These two division rivals are battling it out for Wild Card positions and we believe the hosts have a distinct advantage tonight. Over 44,000 passionate fans at Rogers Center will once again be cheering on their beloved Blue Jays tonight when Francisco Liriano takes the mound. The blue birds are currently in a WC spot but need to continue piling up the 'W's to fend off these Orioles. In addition, they also have the Tigers, Mariners and Astros, all chasing a Wild Card berth and still hopeful of making the playoffs. Toronto is in a good position right now but they know things can change quickly in baseball if they're not at their best. It is important to not only clinch a Wild Card spot but to grab the #1 slot as opposed to the second, in order to host the wild card game. Given the Canadian club's huge home field advantage as evident by their home/road disparity, we believe they understand the importance of pulling away from the Orioles in the standings.

Liriano is a veteran southpaw with nasty stuff. He can strike out batters with the best of them and against an aggressive swinging team like the O's, he might just make a few hitters chase out of the zone. The one issue for him is that he sometimes hands out free passes by walking batters. He's been much better with that since coming over to Toronto however and hasn't issued anywhere near as many base-on-balls as he did in his Pittsburgh dates. Buck Showalter's side has a losing record against lefties on the season and it wouldn't surprise us if Liriano outdueled Tillman tonight. Given that he's spent the majority of his career in the National League, AL clubs like Baltimore haven't seen as much of him as they would have liked. Therefore, he still has some deception in his delivery and a surprise factor that Chris Tillman does not.

Tillman is a towering right-hander who's been Baltimore's ace this season. The problem for him is that the Blue Jays have seen him all too often. Given that these two AL East clubs have been battling it out for years, they have ample past experience against him. Consider the fact that the Blue Jays, collectively, have nearly 300 plate appearances against him and you can see why it's hard for him to catch them by surprise. Toronto hitters have a collective .297 batting average and a .365 on-base percentage against Tillman in 293 previous at-bats! Michael Saunders, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson. Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar and even Ryan Goins, all have great career numbers against hiim! Goins will likely get the start at 2nd base tonight and so even the #9 hitter in the Toronto lineup is capable of doing damage against the Orioles.

If the Blue Jays bullpen doesn't throw away the lead late in the game, we don't see them losing this game. We believe Liriano will fare better than Tillman while the offense gives him proper run support. This is a very important game for both sides but one team is more relaxed given that they are in a safer position while the other might just anxiously swing at some pitches out of the strike-zone. John Gibbons' club can more or less guarantee a playoff berth with a victory tonight and we expect them to do so against a direct rival.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Blue Jays are 65-50 against right-handed starters!
  • Orioles are just 35-41 on the road, away from Camden Yards.
  • Blue Jays are 17-8 as a home favorite in the -125 to -150 range!

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