Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM
It’s one thing to get hot against a collection of random teams as the dog days of summer arrive. It’s quite another to go on the road to beat the best team in your division in a four-game challenge that will likely set the tone for the remainder of your season.
The Toronto Blue Jays used a season-long MLB winning streak to climb back to the .500 mark. They’re still several games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. If they go 3-1 or sweep the Sox…THEN Toronto is in position to really matter in the AL East. They’ll be back in the race before the All-Star Break…and Boston will have fallen back to the pack to create quite a logjam. But, if the Jays go 1-3 or get swept…then they’re back below the .500 mark and so far behind first the Sox that it might take a miracle to catch them. You don’t catch a team that’s more than 15 games over .500 if you’re under .500
Chien-Ming Wang has had a couple of solid starts for the Jays (shocking the world!). Can he beat the Red Sox in Fenway? Esmil Rogers came out of nowhere to get some outs in the rotation. Can he beat the Red Sox in Fenway? Important questions to consider as we ponder this weekend’s probable pitchers…
Toronto… Wang: 1-0, 2.18 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Boston…Lester: 7-4, 4.57 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
Wang allowed no earned runs allowed vs. Texas and Baltimore after a poor debut vs. CWS. It seems like a fluke. But, Wang at his best was an extreme ground-ball pitcher, and his ground ball to fly ball ratio was 31 to 11 in those two starts. Man, would that be found money if the Jays discovered the Wang of old?
Lester has had only one quality start in his last seven outings, seeing his ERA rise from 2.72 to 4.57. That sets up a VERY interesting game here. Lester is vulnerable against good offenses…and Wang could conceivably be the more effective pitcher in this matchup. Handicappers who don’t believe in Wang should consider the Over.
Toronto…Johnson: 1-2, 4.60 ERA, 1.49 WHIP
Boston…Doubront: 4-3, 4.33 ERA, 1.49 WHIP
Johnson’s made four starts in June since returning from injury. He had two good outings, but those came in Interleague action against the NL. He didn’t impress vs. Baltimore or Texas…and facing Boston in Fenway is just as tough or tougher than facing those two.
Doubront is trending in the right direction, calming down after a poor start. He hasn’t quite lived up to expectations though. Good test here against the resurgent Jays’ offense. Another game with Over potential given these offenses, this ballpark, and summer weather.
Toronto…Rogers: 3-3, 3.46 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Boston…Webster: 0-2, 11.25 ERA, 2.08 WHIP
Rogers started to show some chinks in his armor on his last start at Tampa Bay. And, he always seemed the type to turn into a pumpkin anyway given his career numbers and skill set. So much on his shoulders at the moment because Toronto really NEEDS him to get outs.
Webster is only making his fourth start of the season. His last two have been absolute disasters. That’s because he’s been awful…and the lack of depth in long relief gets exposed when he’s knocked out early. AGAIN, we’re looking at very high scoring potential. Both of these offenses can hit…and neither rotation is getting ace caliber production on the mound from anyone (plus R.A. Dickey misses the series for the Jays because he started Wednesday in Tampa).
Toronto…Beurhle: 4-5, 4.73 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
Boston…Dempster: 5-8, 4.15 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
The full season numbers don’t suggest a pitcher’s duel. But, Beurhle pitched well in this part back on May 11, only allowing one earned run in seven innings. And, Dempster has thrown six straight quality starts for the Sox. If it has been a high scoring series to this point, the bats may calm down in the finale.
JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big side or total in this series. But, there are great value spots all over the card Thursday and through the weekend. You can purchase BEST BETS every day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
Back with you Friday to preview the St. Louis Cardinals/Oakland A’s series…which is a potential World Series preview, and a matchup featuring a couple of teams we haven’t had a chance to talk about in a while. Note that July is just around the corner…and July will bring our annual series of college football conference previews. Those will start Tuesday and Wednesday of next week with the Mountain West…as we begin with UNLV’s conference since so many of you are Las Vegas bettors.
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