There is a full slate of 15 games on the MLB schedule today, including what all of a sudden seems like a pitchers duel in Toronto as the newly re-inked Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays host Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees. Get analysis on all of today's games as well as tips on weather, umpires, and other betting trends with our daily MLB Line Drive.
New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays (+153, 8.5)
The Yankees are sitting pretty at the top of the American League Wild Card standings, ahead of the second-place Twins by 6.5-games, as they begin a three-game weekend set in Toronto on Friday night.
The Blue Jays maybe be out of the playoff picture this season, but they will always get up for a division matchup, especially at home. Toronto sends the newly re-signed Marco Estrada to toe the rubber against the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka.
Despite it being a down year for the Blue Jays right-hander, he should have an extra bit of motivation Friday night after signing a one-year $13 million extension to stay with the club in 2018. He has also looked more like the pitcher he was the last two seasons horrendous start to the season.
Estrada is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP, while allowing an opponents on base percentage of .192. Plus in his last start versus the Yankees back on Aug. 10 also in Toronto, he threw seven shutout innings, allowing just five hits.
Meanwhile his counterpart, Tanaka, has no slouch to say the least. The Yankees have won six of his last eight starts, where he owns a 3.24 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Tanaka has also owned the Blue Jays in his career, going 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 13 starts.
There could be plenty of swings and misses tonight.
Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics (-124, 9.5)
You may not realize it, but the Rangers are still battling for a wild card spot as we head down the home stretch of the 2017 MLB season. Texas looks to keep its slim postseason hopes alive when they begin a three-game against the A’s Friday night in Oakland.
All looked lost in Texas after a five-game losing streak last week, but they’ve bounced back to win its last four to sit just 2.5-games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card Spot in the American League. The Rangers hand the ball to right hander Nick Martinez as they try to win their fifth straight.
Unfortunately, Martinez has had a bit of a rough go of late. A reason for that may be that he has bounced back-and-forth between the rotation and the bullpen this season. Texas has lost his last five starts, where he has pitched to a 7.09 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
Martinez faces an A’s team that has won five straight at home thanks in large part to a lineup which is notably much more comfortable in the confines of O.co Coliseum. At home the A’s rank third in home runs and ninth in home runs and OPS.
The A’s send young righty Kendall Graveman to counter Martinez. Graveman has some bumpy patches in his 2017 campaign, but not usually at home, where he is 4-0 with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP in nine starts.
Oakland deals a blow to Texas’ playoff hopes.
Streaking and Slumping Starting Pitchers
Streaking: Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
Maybe a change of scenery is all Justin Verlander needed because, pitching in a pennant race sure looks good on him. The Astros newest starter has been fantastic since coming over from the Tigers.
Verlander is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA and a crazy good 0.62 WHIP, while striking out 26 and walking just three since switching jerseys at the end of August. Verlander has actually won five of his last six starts with a 1.29 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP with 52 strikeouts and with seven walks.
Verlander and the Astros are currently -166 home favorites for their matchup with the Angels.
Slumping: Jordan Lyles, San Diego Padres
On the other side of that coin, Jordan Lyles wen from the competing Rockies bullpen to the Padres rotation and suffice to say, it has not gone well.
In three starts with the Padres, Lyles is 1-1 with a 8.78 ERA and a WHIP of 2.02, while allowing an OBP of over .400.
Lyles and the Padres are currently +152 home dogs against his former team, the Rockies, on Friday night.
Friday's Top Trends
* Pirates are 2-12 in their last 14 overall. Pirates +135 vs. Cardinals.
* Orioles are 3-12 in their last 15 overall. Orioles -105 vs. Rays.
* Dodgers are 3-14 in their last 17 vs. National League West.
* Over is 9-1-1 in the last 11 meetings between the Twins and Tigers. O/U: 10.
Weather To Keep An Eye On
It should be a clear fall night for baseball on Friday, but there will be a bit of a pitchers wind in New York and San Diego tonight.