Toronto Blue Jays (32-35) vs. Texas Rangers (34-33)
MLB Baseball: Monday, June 19th, 8:05 pm EST
Marco Estrada (4-5, 4.54 ERA) vs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 3.28 ERA)
Line: Toronto -117/Texas +107
The Blue Jays open up a four-game series in Texas on Monday against the Rangers. These are two teams trying to claw their way back into the playoff race and this is a big series for both. The Blue Jays have risen from out of the ashes and are now only 6.5 games out of first place in the AL East. That seems like a lot but not after the horrible start that the Blue Jays had to 2017.
The Rangers got off to a lousy start as well, but then reeled off 11 straight wins. They then fell back to their losing ways and dropped far back again. Low and behold, they are playing really well again, having won seven out of eight including back to back 10-4 decisions on Friday and Saturday. They are amazingly within a half game of the second wild card as we currently stand.
Estrada looks to even record
Marco Estrada has been choppy this year, but he has a chance to even his record at 5-5 this Monday. His ERA is 4.54, more than half a run higher than his career ERA. His WHIP is 1.32 and he did have a fantastic WHIP of 1.14 coming into this season. He has lost three straight starts and not looked good doing it. He’s still relatively young at 33, but he does turn 34 in two weeks and I hope it’s not catching up to him.
He was shellacked in his latest start, giving up 12 hits and six earned runs in only 3.1 innings. He gave up four earned runs and seven hits over five innings in his previous start. And in his start before that, he gave up nine hits and seven earned runs over 3.2 innings. That’s a total of 12 innings while allowing 28 hits and 17 earned runs. That’s a rough stretch to say the least.
Have you heard of Austin Bibens-Dirkx
You probably haven’t heard of Austin Bibens-Dirkx, but you should have. He’s one of the most interesting stories in the big leagues this year. He’s a 32 year old rookie who was drafted by the Mariners all the way back in 2006. He’s spent the last 11 years in the minors and he was finally brought up to the majors in May for the first time in his baseball career.
He’s making the most of it, coming into Monday’s contest with a record of 2-0 and an ERA of 3.28. He’s made seven appearances and two starts, and his last appearance was a start that he’ll remember forever. He went against the big, bad Nationals and went seven innings, giving up on three hits and one earned run, and he got the win. This guy is a great story!
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 0-5 last 5 during game 1 of a series.
- 1-6 last 7 after a win.
The Texas Rangers are:
- 4-0 during game 1 of a series.
- 7-2 last 9 overall.
The Blue Jays were hoping they could rely on the veteran Marco Estrada this year, but he’s been shaky as best. Meanwhile, Austin Bibens-Dirkx has been really solid. I think the Rangers have the pitching advantage and have home field, so I like them on Monday.