Saturday MLB Preview – Indians at Blue Jays

The Blue Jays look to finish the month with the most home runs in baseball and pick up a fifth-straight victory on their current homestand.

Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays

Cleveland has lost six of seven games and the starting rotation has given up 16 runs over 10 innings during a current three-game skid.  The Indians’ offense managed to collect just five hits, while allowing a six-run fourth inning in a 8-1 loss to the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre last night.  “I think the night belonged to Shaun Marcum,” said manager Manny Acta.  “He was fantastic.”  Today’s game will be the second of a seven-game road trip that has the club traveling to Toronto and Boston.  The Tribe is 19-34 in road games this year (-530) and the total is 24-26 O/U in those contests.  Cleveland is also 12-21 against the AL East division, while having a winning 20-18 mark against their own division.  The club has been very successful playing on Saturdays, notching a 10-7 record (+660).

Indians starting pitcher Jake Westbrook is 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA in 21 starts this season (-350), but has dropped two straight games against the Twins and Yankees.  In those two outings, he has allowed seven runs and 10 hits over 14 innings, while issuing seven walks and striking out just five.  He is 3-4 with a 5.12 ERA in 11 road starts this season, allowing opponents to hit for a .290 combined average.  In 10 career games (eight starts) versus the Blue Jays, he is 3-2 with a 4.54 ERA.  Westbrook has made eight daytime starts, posting a 1-3 record and 5.29 ERA in comparison to a 5-4 mark and 4.25 ERA at night (13 starts).

Toronto’s offense has scored 30 runs in its last four games and was paced by Jose Bautista’s grand slam on Friday night.  Since returning from the All-Star Game, Bautista has hit .397 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 14 games.  He has five home runs in his last five games.  The Blue Jays evened the season series at 4-4, as the previous seven games had all been played in Cleveland before last night’s contest in Toronto.  The club is a perfect 4-0 on its current seven-day, six-game homestand and are 27-20 overall at the Rogers Centre (+550).  With one more game in July, the Blue Jays lead all of baseball with 42 home runs, helping the squad compile a 14-10 mark this month (+410).  Toronto owns a 182-181 edge in its all-time series with Cleveland overall.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Brett Cecil is 8-5 with a 3.89 ERA in 17 starts this season (+710) and is making his first start at home since July 8.  The left-hander is 3-2 with a 4.75 ERA in six home starts, issuing just six walks and striking out 23 in 36 innings of work.  He is making just his fifth daytime start, notching a 1-1 record and 3.51 ERA, while surrendering a single home run.  In three career starts versus the Indians, he is 1-0 with a 0.86 ERA, including an impressive .189 batting average against.  Cecil tallied a 5-1 road victory versus the Tribe on May 3, giving up just a single run and hit over eight strong innings while striking out a season-high 10 batters.

Bettors will find the road team being 13-25 in day games this season (-820), but the Indians are profitable against left-handed starters (13-18, +180).  On the other end, the Blue Jays will be a home favorite of -175 to -200 for just the second time this season (+100) and they are 9-7 in this spot the last three years (-380).

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