Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels land in Florida on Thursday to kick-start their four-game weekend series with the Toronto Bluejays. The Angels handed the Chicago White Sox a 3-1 loss in their opening series before splitting even at home with the Houston Astros. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays got past the New York Yankees in their opening three-game slate, only to fall to the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Griffin Canning is slated to make his first start of the season for the Angels opposite of Toronto’s Ross Stripling.
Things get weird for the AngelsThe Angels’ two-game meeting with the Houston Astros wasn’t lacking in the drama department. There was the expected clash between the Astros and angry Angels fans that included “Trash’ Stros” signs and an actual trash can being thrown onto the baseball field. Then there was Angel Hernandez’s humongous strike zone.
Literally, that thing was the size of the city of Los Angeles.
Less drama should be in store for the Angels with the Blue Jays next on the itinerary.
But it’ll be a tough challenge against a Blue Jays team with a pitching rotation that has cracked the top-10 in ERA. Thursday’s meeting will be even more interesting considering Ross Stripling will be looking for a little redemption after his disappointing outing with the Yankees. The Angels are averaging 5.50 runs per game with their bats ripping with a .733 OPS. They’ll need to live up to those statistical averages after mustering only two runs in Tuesday’s loss to the Astros.
Angels right-handed pitcher Griffin Canning is slated to make his first start of the season in this game. The 24-year-old Mission Viejo native crossed out 56 batters last season with a 3.99 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He’ll be looking for a strong start against a Blue Jays team averaging only 6.80 hits through their first six games of the season.
Blue Jays facing adversity earlySo the Blue Jays lost to the Rangers.
Normally, this would be the point when I’d criticize them for falling to the team that finished with the worst record in the American League last season. Toronto essentially experienced the high that came from knocking off the Yankees to the lows of losing a three-game series to the Rangers.
But the loss really isn’t that bad.
Star center fielder George Springer has yet to make his presence felt in the lineup, and the pitching rotation is missing Robbie Ray, Nate Pearson and Thomas Hatch. It’s a team with a lot of missing parts and they still managed to stun the Yankees on the road in the opener. If not for a complete offensive meltdown in Wednesday’s rubber match, they probably would have beaten the Rangers as well.
There’s clearly hope for better days for the Blue Jays. Veteran pitcher Ross Stripling hopes to deliver the first taste of it in Thursday’s meeting with the Angels. He’ll have to stare down a hard-hitting Angels team with Mike Trout in the lineup. It doesn’t help matters that he’s coming off a loss to the Yankees in a game where he allowed seven hits and three earned runs in 3.1 innings. He’ll be looking to bounce back in a big way against the Angels.
Of course, nothing will matter if the Blue Jays can’t get their bats going. The Angels are going to get on the board in this game. Toronto must be ready to respond.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Angels are 4-1 in their last 5 overall.
- Angels are 4-1 in their last 5 during game 1 of a series.
- Angels are 4-1 in their last 5 games on grass.
- Angels are 4-1 in their last 5 games against a right-handed starter.
- Blue Jays are 1-4 in their last 5 overall.
- Blue Jays are 3-7 in their last 10 against American League West.
- Blue Jays are 27-63 in their last 90 games against a team with a winning % above .600.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
It’s a long season, and the Blue Jays could be one of the surprise teams as guys get healthy and they get deeper into their schedule.
But that time won’t be on Thursday.
George Springer is still sidelined, and the team has been forced to dig deep into their bullpen to make up for losses within the pitching rotation. The Blue Jays are averaging the sixth-most home runs per game right out of the gates, but they’re also sitting at 24th in BABIP. That tells me the Blue Jays have been a team leaning heavily on big hits to put points on the board.
It’s a concern because the big hits aren’t always going to come. That lack of consistency cost them against the Rangers, and it’ll cost them again against the Angels as well. Even if Ross Stripling sets the Blue Jays up for success, the relief help will implode in the later innings as the Angels pull ahead and nab their first road win of the season.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Blue Jays are always a home run from breaking a game open, assuming they can actually get players on bases. They are currently ranked 23rd in the league with a .279 on-base percentage. Toronto has been too dependent on home runs to get points on the board. Guys aren’t consistently getting hits and coming across home plate. What happens when the big hits don’t come? The Blue Jays only mustered one run in such a case in a recent outing against the Rangers. Stripling will play much better than he did against the Yankees, but Canning will also be up for the challenge for the Angels in this one. Give me the under on Thursday.