Friday Major League Baseball Preview: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles opens up at home after playing its first six games on the road and hosts the first game of a three-game set against Toronto

Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels

The Los Angeles Angels have won the last four games Ervin Santana has started against the Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto won four of six games on its opening homestand and now take to the road for the first time against Los Angeles Friday night.  The Blue Jays will play the Angels 10 times this season, including seven games at the Rogers Centre and just three at tonight’s venue.  The team will also be playing its first game against former player Vernon Wells, who had 31 home runs and 88 RBIs last season.  “It will be interesting,” Wells said.  It will be fun to see the buys, but obviously it will be a little different.  I’ll be in the other dugout.”  Despite Thursday’s 2-1 loss, the Blue Jays opened their season by winning the first two season series, leaving manager John Farrell optimistic.  “We’ve had a good first week,” Farrell commented.  “With all the things we’ve had to deal with, we haven’t had our full roster.”  Toronto is 127-116 versus right-handed starters the past two-plus seasons.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Kyle Drabek collected his first Major League victory, in a 6-1 win versus Minnesota on April 2, holding the Twins to one hit in seven innings.  It continued a strong run from spring training that saw him post a 2-0 record and 2.81 ERA in four starts.  Drabek has implemented a cutter this season that he hopes will help him fulfill the high expectations that many have placed on him.  The 23-year-old right-hander was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 after recording a 14-9 record with a 2.94 ERA in 27 starts for New Hampshire.

Los Angeles possesses an even 3-3 record this season and two of its defeats have been by the way of walk-off home runs.  The Angels will now open up a six-game homestand and currently lead the majors with 118 total bases and rank second with a .603 slugging percentage.  “I don’t think it makes much sense to look at the road trip,” said manager Mike Scioscia.  “Our challenge is ahead of us.  The schedule keeps coming with a tough game every day and you have to be ready for it.”  The franchise is 23-27 all-time in home openers and has won six of the last seven openers at The Big A.  Los Angeles is 96-71 at home the past two years.

Angels starting pitcher Ervin Santana bounced back from a tough 2009 season to finish 17-10 with four complete games, one shut out and a 3.92 ERA in 33 starts.  The right-hander received a no decision in his last start against the Royals on the road, surrendering three runs and seven hits over 6.2 innings of work.  Santana will be making his 10th career starts and appearance versus the Jays, winning each of his last four starts against them.  In 2010, he went 3-0 with two complete games and a 4.22 ERA.

Bettors will be interested in backing the Angels due to their 6-1 mark in Santana’s last seven home starts, while the Blue Jays are 70-93 on the road the past two years.

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