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Anaheim/Toronto over 5.5 even:
Anaheim (17-17) used a sac fly from Raul Ibanez in the 9th inning to take the opener of this 3 game series, and 8 of their last 9 against Toronto (18-18) 4-3 last night at the Rogers Centre. Although recording a no-decision, Garrett Richards pitched 7 quality frames yielding just 2 runs on 5 hits. Erick Aybar went 3 for 5 scoring 2 runs and Ernesto Fieri picked up his 4th save in relief of Joe Smith who blew an 8th inning save. He gave up a game tying HR to Jose Reyes but eventually picked up the win. Brett Cecil took the loss in relief despite a solid outing from Dustin McGowan.
Offense has been the key for the halos, who despite hitting at just a .254 overall clip have belted 41 HR, second in the AL to Toronto's 50. This afternoon the Blue Jays send JA Happ (1-0 1.93) who has made several quality starts thus far, including his most recent earning his first victory of 2014. Happ tossed 5 scoreless innings on Monday in a 3-0 triumph over the Phillies. Happ has shown the ability to work in and out of trouble but must cut down on his control issues as evident of his average of 7 BB per 9 IP. Today he faces an Angels lineup fueled by Albert Pujols (.287 10 26) who was moved to DH from 1B due to recent hamstring issues resulting in a production break. Howie Kendrick (.301 2 18) continues to lead the team in batting and steals with 7, while second on the team scoring 23 runs.Mike Trout (.284 7 21) has come on as of late but must look to put the ball in play on a more consistent basis as evident by his 41K's. Ibanez (.144 3 18) is mired in a 1 for 21 slump as Mike Scioscia has recently reduced his role.
Anaheim counters with Tyler Skaggs (2-1 4.54) who suffered his first loss of the young season last weekend in a 14-3 trouncing by Texas. Skaggs couldn't get out of the 3rd inning slaughtered for 6 runs on 8 hits and 3 free passes. He'll look to get back on track against a Blue Jays lineup that averages about 5 runs per contest hitting around .260 overall. Jose Bautista (.297 9 23) is prone to slow starts but usually heats up in May right through the end of the summer crushing tape measure shots. Colby Rasmus (.234 9 19) is on a 9 game hitting streak (10/35 .286) but will likely be only available for pinch hit duty due to the lefty-lefty matchup. Rasmus is well on his way to setting a personal high for seasonal HR's, on pace to break his 23 in 2010 and again in 2012. Edwin Encarnarcion (.252 6 24) has clubbed 78 long balls over the past 2 seasons, and recently notched his 200th in career despite off to a slow start in '14. Melky Cabrera (.338 6 16) is hitting .370 over his last 15 games and is comfortable putting up some big numbers out of the 2 hole in the lineup.
We actually catch a break here in price as the opening line was reading at 5 runs at -120. However, we feel relatively confident saving on the value giving up the hook here as both offenses sport the kind of power and balance that could change the game at any given time. Happ has been cruising along as of late but could run into a buzzsaw this afternoon that relies on it's output for success. On the flip side, Skaggs will need to be solid after coming off a subpar outing facing an Angels solid core of hitters. With fair conditions at the former Skydome along with swirling breezes out to the corners, we could have a slugfest for a chess match rather than a pitcher's standoff evident in game 1 of this series. This afternoon we look to make it 3 straight. Best of luck however you play!
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