MLB: Toronto Blue Jays take flight in AL East
Baseball, unlike many sports the world over, is not one where the first month’s form will tell bettors anything about where the World Series trophy ends up come October. Granted your season ending Tommy John surgery injuries will be knocking about and someone could throw a no-hitter then do nothing for the remaining months, but on the whole the first sixth of the season won’t say a lot.
One thing the first few weeks of the campaign has shown is that the American League [AL] East will be closer than it has been in a good decade and four of the combatants go head-to-head later tonight in what will be two tight series between the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Blue Jays -112
(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)
Toronto is unique in that it is the only place in the whole of Canada that baseball fans can go out to the ball park and it is also alone in the fact that it is the city’s only ‘World’ champion in almost 50 years.
They don’t have the glitz or the pizzazz of Drake backing them up or the multi-million dollar signings that Toronto FC has brought to the table, though they are in a division that this year looks like it could be ripe for the taking.
Toronto’s bats have been heating up all season with Melky Cabrera held hitless in just one game so far this season and Jose Bautista tied for second place in all of baseball with six home runs. Baltimore is set to send Bud Norris to the mound for Thursday’s start and he has struggled against the top end of the Blue Jays order in the past with Jose Reyes [.375 avg in 16 ABs], Edwin Encarnarcion [.333 in 3 ABs] and Cabrera [.429 in 7 ABs, 3 RBIs] all excelling. Norris has two heavy losses on the road this season already and will run into trouble north of the border.
Norris pitches against Drew Hutchison once again after they duelled it out for a no decision in Baltimore on 12 April and the 24-year-old is still yet to rediscover the stuff that let him hold the Tampa Bay Rays scoreless over five innings on the way to his first win of the season.
The first time out between these two pitchers was decided in extra innings but expect this to be the polar opposite and the Blue Jays to come out on top in a slugfest.
Red Sox -120
(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)
Last season’s world champions play host to their fiercest rivals in the AL East’s other clash of the night and it’s fair to say that the residents of Bean Town are far from what they deem their best.
The Red Sox were three-and-a-half games behind the Yankees on Tuesday night and could be behind by as much as four-and-a-half by the time the two teams face off at Fenway Park on Thursday evening.
One of the problems the Sox have been finding already this season is that aside from John Lackey, the starting pitching has been an itch the club house is finding it incredibly hard to scratch.
New York has had a slightly better time of things when it comes to pitching apart from C.C. Sabathia, Thursday’s starter. The veteran slinger has had an extremely mixed season so far with at least two runs surrendered in each of his four games and his one start against the Red Sox so far ended up in a 4-2 loss.
Thursday will be another close run thing with nothing more than a couple of runs in it and the AL East looks like being the same crapshoot meaning long odds on the likes of the Blue Jays are well worth a punt.
JAMIE HINKS (jamiehinks) is an experienced content writer who has focused on the gambling industry and technology, and has an obsession with football and all US sports. You can follow him on Twitter here.