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MLB SERIES OUTLOOK: TEXAS AT TORONTO
Mon, 01 Aug 2011 06:07 PM EDT

TEXAS RANGERS (60-46, +2.1 Units)

at TORONTO BLUE JAYS (53-52, +3.1 Units)

Sportsbook.com Series Line: Texas -140, Toronto +110

After a disappointing four-game split with Minnesota at home, Texas heads north of the border for a three-game set in Toronto starting Friday night. Vegas odds.

Canada hasn’t treated Texas well over the past three seasons, as the Rangers are just 3-7 at the Rogers Centre. On top of that, both teams are throwing two lefties in this series. The Jays have an .816 OPS as a team, fourth-best in the majors, against lefties. Meanwhile, the FoxSheets provide a trend showing that Texas hasn’t fared well against southpaws during the Ron Washington era, making underdog TORONTO the pick to win the series.

RON WASHINGTON is 45-77 (36.9%, -28.0 Units) against the money line in road games against left-handed starters as the manager of TEXAS. The average score was TEXAS 4.1, OPPONENT 5.1 – (Rating = 1*).

Pitching Probables for Friday, July 29 – 7:07 ET
Friday line: Texas -130, Toronto +120, Total: 8.5
TEX: 12-7 (+2.9 Units) when Alexi Ogando starts
TOR: 4-5 (-0.1 Units) when Brett Cecil starts
Ogando (10-4, 2.79 ERA) was the losing pitcher in the Rangers’ only loss to the Jays during a home set last week. He allowed three runs and nine base runners over 6.2 innings. He also took a no-decision in a loss to the Jays back in April, allowing two runs over six innings in that game. He has pitched better since the All-Star break, after the converted reliever received some extra rest. He threw eight shutout innings in Anaheim in his first start after the break.
Cecil (3-4, 4.71 ERA) shut out the Rangers in Texas on Sunday, by far his best start of the year. Since returning from a midseason demotion to Triple-A, he’s 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA over five starts. He was torched by the Rangers in his two other career outings against them, giving up seven runs over five innings in Arlington in September 2009, and getting torched for eight runs over two innings at home in May 2010. Betting lines .

Pitching Probables for Saturday, July 30 – 1:07 ET
Saturday line: TBD
TEX: 11-10 (-0.8 Units) when Derek Holland starts
TOR: No Record when Brad Mills starts
Holland (9-4, 4.43 ERA) once again flashed some top-of-the-rotation stuff in his last start, throwing six shutout innings against the Twins. The 24-year-old left-hander had thrown back-to-back shutouts at one point earlier this month, but also gave up seven runs over 5.1 innings in Anaheim as well. He’s been maddeningly inconsistent all year, and has been hammered by the Jays over his career. He has a 10.38 ERA over 13 innings in three starts against Toronto.
Mills makes his first start of the year as the Jays shuffle their roster in wake of a three-team trade earlier this week. The 26-year-old lefty had been solid for Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League (9-7, 3.99 ERA, 114-to-35 K/BB ratio over 130.2 innings), but has a career 8.22 ERA over five career starts in the majors. Amazingly, the Jays won four of those games.

Pitching Probables for Sunday, July 31 – 8:10 ET
Sunday line: TBD
TEX: 13-9 (+1.0 Units) when C.J. Wilson starts
TOR: 11-7 (+2.7 Units) when Brandon Morrow starts
Wilson (10-4, 3.16 ERA) is coming off far and away his worst outing of the season. He allowed six runs (five earned) and 11 base runners over four innings at home to the hapless Twins offense. He has been sharp on the road this year though, with a 2.33 ERA over 11 starts. He hasn’t faced Toronto since April 2010, when he threw seven shutout innings in a no-decision. Sports scores.
The hard-throwing Morrow (7-5, 4.71 ERA) is still searching for consistency. Despite an MLB-leading (among starters) 10.46 strikeouts per 9 innings and a solid walk rate (3.5 per 9 innings), he’s been hit hard often this year. He couldn’t get out of the fourth against Baltimore on Tuesday, allowing seven runs (six earned) over 3.1 innings. Prior to that, the Jays had won Morrow’s past seven starts.


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