The Athletics are trying to keep pace in the American League West race. They come into Tuesday’s matchup with an 18-12 overall record, two games ahead of the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros for the AL West lead. Meanwhile, Toronto sits in second place in the American League East, where it trails the Boston Red Sox by only two games after winning three in a row and seven of its last 10 contests. The Blue Jays have compiled a 14-13 record in their first 27 contests but have won just seven of their first 16 road games.
After dropping the series opener, can the Blue Jays bounce back on the road in Oakland against the Athletics on Tuesday night?
Kay to make second spot start of season for Blue JaysToronto will hand the ball to left-hander Anthony Kay for his second start of the season. Kay has made one start this year but has stayed stretched out at the Blue Jays’ alternate training site. The 26-year-old was roughed up for five runs (four earned) in 3 ⅓ frames against the Royals on April 15 but will get another chance to show his stuff in Tuesday’s spot start.
Kay owns a lifetime 5.45 ERA at the MLB level but has just 38 ⅓ career innings under his belt, so the sample size is still quite small. He has also suffered some bad luck, posting a career .345 BABIP, including a whopping .462 BABIP in his lone start of the season. The Blue Jays’ right-hander is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA but owns an xERA of 1.70 and an xFIP of 2.31 so far this season.
Keep an eye on Kay’s velocity during this outing. He currently owns a career-high average fastball velocity of 94.2 miles per hour and was seen ramping things up as high as 97 mph during spring training.
This will be Kay’s first career appearance against Oakland.
Irvin earning trust on the mound as a starter in OaklandLeft-handed starter Cole Irvin is scheduled to toe the rubber for the A’s at the Coliseum in Oakland on Tuesday. Irvin enters on a roll with just three runs allowed over his last 17 ⅓ innings of work. He’s pitched into the sixth inning or later in each of his last three starts during that span while striking out 20 batters and issuing just two walks. In his last trip to the mound, Irvin gave up just two runs in six innings of work but was rendered with a tough-luck loss on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays.
After posting an unthinkable 17.18 ERA with the Phillies last season, Irvin has earned trust in his first full season as an MLB starter in Oakland. He’s flashed elite command as a member of the A’s, which was part of the book on him at the minor league level. Irvin is also striking out a healthy 8.33 batters per nine innings of work, which has helped him survive despite posting a .341 BABIP so far this year.
This will be Irvin’s first career start against Toronto and just his third at the RingCentral Coliseum, where he owns a 3.48 ERA in 10 ⅓ combined frames.
- Blue Jays are 4-10 in their last 14 games as a road underdog.
- Blue Jays are 2-5 in their last 7 Tuesday games.
- Blue Jays are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. American League West.
- Athletics are 9-2 in their last 11 home games.
- Athletics are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Irvin’s recent success has been a pleasant surprise for the A’s but his peripherals suggest that the lefty isn’t going anywhere any time soon. He’s posted a strong strikeout rate, an elite walk rate, and has cut down his home run rate to just 1.00 per nine innings of work. Irvin walked under two batters per nine in all but one of his minor league seasons and he comes in with a 20:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last three starts. Take the A’s to get the win at home in the second game of their series against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for nine runs, which should give us a little bit of extra cushion here. Irvin has logged quality starts in two of his last three outings and he’s pitched into the sixth inning in each of his last four. The A’s right-hander has a 1.56 ERA over his last three starts with 20 strikeouts and only two walks during that span. Meanwhile, the A’s have scored more than three runs just three times in their last nine games. Take this matchup to stay under the projected total on Tuesday evening.