White Sox at Blue Jays Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/15/2013
It's only two weeks into the regular season, so I don't want to get carried away here, but I never really understood why so many people were jumping on the Toronto Blue Jays bandwagon this offseason and why they were made the betting favorites to win the World Series for a while.
That the Jays were the story of the offseason isn't arguable as they acquired Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and others in the Marlins' fire sale deal and also traded for reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey of the Mets. Would the Jays be better than last year's 73-89 club? Certainly. But World Series favorites? Sorry, I just didn't see that. Dickey's 2012 campaign was a fluke if you look at his career numbers. He was terrible in his first two starts this season before a good outing over the weekend against the Royals. Buehrle is a solid pitcher and innings eater but certainly not an ace. Johnson has No. 1-type stuff but has had trouble staying healthy.
The clear big piece of the deal was Reyes, the former NL batting champion (first in Mets history, by the way). He's certainly in the conversation as the best shortstop in baseball and was one of the few Jays off to a good start, hitting .395 with a homer, five RBI and five steals. However, while attempting a steal in Friday's game against Kansas City, Reyes severely twisted his ankle -- he usually slides headfirst but didn't that time. He's now likely lost for three months -- a crippling blow to the Jays' playoff hopes. Maicer Izturis is the temporary replacement, but he's all glove and no bat. GM Alex Anthopoulos is likely to be out looking for an upgrade over Izturis. Emilio Bonifacio, also acquired in the Marlins deal, will hit leadoff for now in Reyes' place. The Jays also remain without starting third baseman Brett Lowrie as he started the season on the disabled list after hurting his ribs in the World Baseball Classic (just more ammunition for teams to hold back their star players from that event). The good news is he's close to returning. It won't be in Monday's series opener against the White Sox but perhaps by the weekend.
White Sox at Blue Jays Betting Story Lines
The White Sox led the AL Central most of last season before gagging at the end and getting passed by the Tigers. No one gave Chicago much of a chance at winning the division this year after it lost catcher A.J. Pierzynski to free agency and was extremely quiet in the offseason. So far the skeptics look right. The Sox are pretty much a boom-or-bust team. They will either win with home runs or lose by striking out a ton. Four hitters have double-digits strikeout totals entering Sunday's series finale in Cleveland. The Sox also have five guys with at least two homers, led by former Blue Jay Alex Rios with four. If Chicago is still below .500 in July, he could be a nice trade chip.
The Sox start right-hander Gavin Floyd (0-2, 5.56), another possible trade chip, in this one. He hasn't made it to the seventh inning in his two starts and was crushed in his lone road start (at Washington). Floyd had major success against the Jays in 2012, going 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched. Adam Lind (.375, 1 HR, 6 RBI) and Melky Cabrera (.333, 1 HR, 4 RBI) are Blue Jays who have hit Floyd well. Jose Bautista (.083) has not.
The Jays start Buehrle (0-0, 10.24) against his former team. The lefty spent his first 12 seasons on the South Side of Chicago and was one of the best pitchers in team history (and a huge fan favorite) before signing with the Marlins last season. Buehrle claimed he was lied to by Marlins ownership after being dealt to Toronto -- the Fish don't give no-trade clauses, so maybe Buehrle should pipe down. Buehrle has been shelled by the Tigers and Indians in his first two starts even though Toronto won both of them. This will be his first-ever start against the Sox, and his ex-teammates still love him. The only current White Sox player with a history against Buehrle is Rios, and that was years ago.
White Sox at Blue Jays Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Blue Jays opened at -147 and the Sox at +137 with the total at 8.5. All trends entering Sunday: the White Sox are 4-7 on the “over/under” (3-2 on road) and 4-7 on the runline. The Jays are 7-4 O/U (3-3 at home) and 5-6 on the runline.
The White Sox are 6-0 in their past six Monday games. They are 1-4 in their past five against a lefty starter. Chicago has won Floyd's past four starts in a series opener. The Jays are 5-2 in their past seven against righty starters. They are 3-8 in their past 11 series openers. The over is 13-3 in the White Sox's past 16 against lefty starters. The under is 5-1 in Floyd's past six starts. The over is 4-1 in Toronto's past five games against right-handed starters and in Game 1 of series overall. The White Sox have won six of the past eight meetings. Chicago is 2-5 in Floyd's past seven starts against the Jays.
White Sox at Blue Jays Picks and Betting Predictions
Entering Sunday, the Sox have yet to win a road game. I think this will have special meaning to many of their hitters to face their old pal Buehrle. I guess you could say the same about Buehrle, but pitchers tend to overcompensate more than hitters. Facing a lefty (who isn't a strikeout pitcher) could be just what the doctor ordered for the very right-handed White Sox. Thus, I lean them here and the over.
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