TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22ND
#971 TORONTO with Matz (-140) over Minnesota with Pineda at 7:40 PM EST
Checking in hungry off Wednesday’s 7-1 road loss to the Devil Rays, the Blue Jays will head up to Minneapolis and knock off the Twins. Minnesota is going to step up in class after knocking off Chicago (Cubs) twice at Wrigley Field and the Twinkies will have their hands full with the Blue Birds.
Southpaw Steven Matz will toe the rubber for the visitors. In the month of September, No. 22 has made four starts and been touched for only 10 earned runs and 21 hits in 22.2 innings of work. Matz whiffed 22 and walked eight on his way to a 3-0 tally with a respectable 3.97 ERA. The road has been kind to Steven too. As a guest, Matz has surrendered only 33 earned runs and 77 hits in 80.2 frames. That shakes down to an awesome 9-4 mark with a powerful 3.68 ERA.
Big right-hander Michael Pineda will counter for the home team. In his last two outings against Toronto and Kansas City, No. 35 has been in a zone allowing just two earned runs and eight hits in 10.2 innings. Pineda struck out five and walked two on his way to a 2-0 record with a solid 1.69 ERA. Unfortunately, Michael hasn’t been as effective in his own backyard this season. Inside Target Field, Pineda has been pounded for 27 earned runs and 62 hits in 61.2 frames. After the math, that adds up to a 3-4 tally with a 3.94 ERA.
Several reliable team trends support this wager. Toronto has won seven straight after allowing five runs or more in its previous battle, 10 of its last 13 as a guest, 15 of its last 21 as a favorite, and 35 of its last 51 when facing a foe that holds a team won/loss percentage less than .500. On the other side of the yard, Minnesota has slipped in 17 of its last 24 against a left-handed starter, 10 of its last 13 against AL East opponents, and seven of its last nine in its own backyard.
With a serious shot at the AL Wild Card, the Blue Jays need to take care of business in their final four road games of the season matched up against a Twins squad that finds themselves in the cellar of the AL Central. Take Toronto with Matz. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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