How about those Toronto Blue Jays? I stayed on their bandwagon to win the AL East even when they were seven games back of the Yankees. Now they are an unstoppable force and have jumped to the +300 second-favorites behind Kansas City (+160) to win the American League pennant and -175 favorites to win the AL East. On Thursday, the Blue Jays beat Oakland -- catching a break in that A's ace Sonny Gray was a game-day scratch with back spasms -- for their 11th straight win, tying a franchise record. It's their second 11-game winning streak of the season, the first from June 2-14. Toronto is the first team since the 1954 Indians with two streaks that long in a season. That Cleveland team went an incredible 111-43 but was upset in the World Series by the Giants, a team that finished 14 games behind the Tribe.
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Yankees at Blue Jays (-118, 8)
With David Price going Friday in the Jays' series opener against the Yankees, I fully expect the team to be going for a 13th straight win Saturday afternoon. Entering Price's outing, Blue Jays starters had permitted three earned runs or fewer in 17 straight games, one shy of the club record. Saturday's game will be nationally televised on the MLB Network and have live betting at sportsbooks. It's surprising Marco Estrada (10-6, 3.21) for Toronto. He pitched in New York last weekend, when Toronto swept, and shut out the Bombers on three hits over 6.1 innings. Carlos Beltran is 4-for-17 with two homers off him. Brian McCann is 6-for-15. Mark Teixeira 2-for-7 with two homers. New York's Masahiro Tanaka (8-5, 3.79) took the loss opposite Estrada, allowing two runs over six innings. Edwin Encarnacion is 5-for-10 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Yankees are 7-1 in Tanaka's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The Jays are 5-1 in Estrada's past six vs. the AL East. The "over/under" is 5-1 in Tanaka's past six vs. the AL East. The under is 4-0 in Estrada's past four at home.
Early lean: I say Tanaka ends the winning streak. Go under.
Cubs at White Sox (+121, 8)
When you think NL Cy Young, you probably think Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw or Gerrit Cole. Well, start thinking the Cubs' Jake Arrieta (13-6, 2.38). He has had 10 straight quality starts and hasn't allowed a run over his past two, with just six hits in 14.2 innings. He dominated the White Sox on July 12, throwing a complete game and allowing one run and two hits, striking out 10. Alexei Ramirez is 5-for-13 off him. Adam LaRoche just 1-for-13. It's lefty Jose Quintana (6-9, 3.59) for the White Sox. He was opposite Arrieta on July 12 and took the loss, allowing three runs over 7.1 innings. The Sox have lost five of his past seven. Dexter Fowler is 3-for-6 off him. Kris Bryant 1-for-3 with a triple.
Key trends: The Cubs are 4-0 in Arrieta's past four road starts. The Sox are 1-6 in Quintana's past seven on Saturday. The under is 5-2 in the Cubs' past seven against a lefty. The over is 4-1 in Quintana's past five.
Early lean: Cubs and under.
A's at Orioles (-153, 8.5)
It's unlikely you see Orioles catcher Matt Wieters here. He left Tuesday's game with a right hamstring strain and was to be re-evaluated Friday. He is hitting .278 with five homers and 17 RBIs but wouldn't rule out playing at some point this weekend. Miguel Gonzalez (9-8, 4.45) starts this one for the Orioles. They have lost his past three, and he hasn't lasted more than 5.1 innings in any of them. Gonzalez pitched in Oakland on Aug. 4 and allowed three runs in 5.1 innings. Coco Crisp is 3-for-5 with two doubles off him. Brett Lawrie is just 3-for-20. Chris Bassitt (1-4, 2.48) goes for Oakland. He was opposite Gonzalez on Aug. 4 and shut out the Orioles on five hits over seven innings. Bassitt has allowed no more than three runs in any of his seven starts. Chris Davis is 1-for-2 with a double off him.
Key trends: The A's are 5-1 in their past six on Saturday. The Orioles are 0-4 in their past four against the AL West. The over is 7-2 in Gonzalez's past nine overall.
Early lean: A's and over.
Angels at Royals (-179, 7.5)
Los Angeles got bad, but not really unexpected, news, on Thursday when lefty C.J. Wilson was ruled out for the rest of the season. He will have surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow. He had been pitching through discomfort earlier this season and was placed on the DL two weeks ago. He went around the country getting opinions on whether a non-surgical option was available so he could return in 2015, but the answer was no. Wilson finishes the year 8-8 with a 3.89 ERA. Might the Angels now try and make an August trade for an arm? Matt Shoemaker (5-8, 4.36) goes here for L.A. The Halos have lost his past three and he was rocked last time out, allowing seven runs in 5.2 innings at the White Sox. The Royals' Lorenzo Cain is 4-for-6 with a homer off him. Ben Zobrist is 6-for-9 with three doubles and a homer. It's Johnny Cueto (8-7, 2.53) for the Royals. I wrote earlier this week how great Cueto's K.C. home debut was as he threw a complete-game four-hitter against the Tigers on Monday and got standing ovations every inning. Albert Pujols is 7-for-29 career off him. Shane Victorino is 5-for-10 with two homers.
Key trends: The Angels are 12-3 in Shoemaker's past 15 on the road. The Royals have won four straight on Saturday. The under is 5-1 in Shoemaker's past seven.
Early lean: Zobrist hitting prop, Royals and under.
Rays at Rangers (+128, 8.5)
Shocker: the Rangers' Josh Hamilton is breaking down again. He missed a second straight game Thursday with soreness in his left knee and was to have an MRI on Friday. Following a quick start with Texas after being acquired from the Angels, he hasn't done much. Might as well shut him down for 2015. The Rangers go with Colby Lewis (12-5, 4.61) here. He is 5-1 at home this season despite a 5.27 ERA. The Rays' Evan Longoria is 2-for-9 off him. John Jaso is 1-for-8. It's Rays ace Chris Archer (10-8, 2.62). One of his worst outings of the year was May 7 vs. Texas where Archer lasted only 3.1 innings and allowed five runs. Adrian Beltre is 1-for-9 off him. Elvis Andrus is 4-for-9 with two RBIs.
Key trends: The Rays are 6-2 in Archer's past eight road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Rangers are 6-1 in Lewis' past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 4-1 in Archer's past five on the road. The under is 4-0 in Lewis' past four vs. Tampa.
Early lean: Rays and under.
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